You can now find deals in any town without having to be in the neighborhood. Look for the deals tab to browse and find specials anywhere, select a city and click anywhere on the map to find foursquare check-in specials, Mayor specials, Newbie specials or Loyalty specials using checkinmania.
You can now add CheckinMania Map to your own website by adding a small snippet of code to your website. You can customize the size, you can set default location, select the services you want displayed and default service to start - Foursquare, Gowalla, BrightKite or Twitter.
Push notifications when your friends comment on your check-in.
Leave Tips with Photos.
Comment on your friends check-ins.
Check-in Photos and Comments are available only to friends
Tip Photos are available to all.
Android, BlackBerry and WebOS will also get the photos feature soon and photo sharing to facebook and flickr also coming soon according to foursquare blog. Foursquare has also added support for full check-in history. Developer API support for these new features will be available soon.
First ever check-in from International Space Station via @foursquare
Expedition 25 Commander Douglas H. Wheelock became the first human to ever use a location-based service from space. Doug checked in from the International Space Station and unlocked the new NASA Explorer Badge.
Location based game app SCVNGR has launched new apps for iPhone and Android. SCVNGR now has about 500,000 users and growing fast. The iPhone app design looks a lot like facebook iPhone app with new feature including a improved activity stream, dashboard and a social map to view your friends on a map. More details can be found on the SCVNGR’s blog.
FireFly: Check-in service for your Twitter social graph
FireFly is the new Location based Check-in service that is based on Twitter Places API and uses the twitter social graph as your friends. The iPhone app design is very similar to foursquare or gowalla, you can check where your twitter friends are checked-in, you can browse nearby places and check-in, and also attach pictures with check-in. It is not clear if the it just shows friend check-ins done using this app or does it also pull tweets with location tag from twitter.com, it does not look like it pulls location tagged tweets of friends. Foursquare and Gowalla tag check-ins with twitter places, it will be cool if Firefly can pull tweets with location tag into this service, then it will have aggregated stream of check-ins for twitter social graph. Overall it is a well designed app, but the big question is, is it just filling a hole that twitter can implement on their own?
Facebook today announced “Places” feature which will allow users and friends to be tagged to a location a.k.a check-in to a location.
Here are some of the features of Facebook Places:
- Check-in to a location
- Tag friends to a location
- Find friends nearby
- Post photos/messages to a place
- View people checked-in at the same location you are
- Businesses can claim ownership of a place by verification
Gowalla, Foursquare, Yelp and Booyah have all announced their partnership to integrate Facebook Places API. Facebook has also made read APIs available, search and write APIs are in closed beta currently (checkinmania.com will be adding facebook tab as soon as the search API comes out of closed beta). The Facebook Places feature will be available on the facebook touch mobile website and iPhone app starting today to all US users.
Gowalla has released API to check-in users, back in February they had released APIs for all but the check-in API. Developers could only pull venue and user information but did not have the ability to do actual check-in. Gowalla’s main concern was that people could do fake check-ins using APIs, foursquare on the other hand released full APIs this lead to creation on many third party apps with foursquare check-in integrated (many are available here Foursquare App Gallery), this also increased the adoption of foursquare over Gowalla. Gowalla has finally decided to give access to check-in API to users with some rigid guidelines and terms, here are the guidelines for Gowalla Check-in API use:
Encourage users of your application to check in at places they are actually located.
Avoid incentives or game mechanics that reward checking in from distant locations.
Never “auto check-in” a person without their explicit permission. This is seriously uncool.
Encourage social interaction over bot-like behavior.
Rapid, repeated check-ins with the intent to automate the location and swapping of items will not be tolerated.
Go easy on the API. Cache data where you can, respond to error messages, and be thoughtful about your user experience.
Gowalla check-in API uses Oauth 2.0 for secure authentication, more information and examples are available here.
Visualize your @foursquare check-ins with WeePlaces
Here is an awesome web app to visualize your foursquare check-ins, login with foursquare and Weeplaces will show your movement on a map over time. At the end of the visualization you will be left with a map with all your check-ins. You can then share this visualization with friends using twitter/facebook.
However one thing I noticed was that once you login and use this app, your check-in data is all made public even if you don’t want to share this information, anyone can access this data by using this url www.weeplaces.com/(firstname)-(lastname), there was no option to make this url private again. I have contacted the guys from Weeplaces regarding this privacy concern.
Update: I got response back from Weeplaces, a privacy setting option has been added to make the visualization private.
With this new app, you can find all the locations anywhere in the world that have people checked in currently.
The app lets you find popular locations, list of people checked-in, number of men/women checked-in, tips and stats about the venues. The app also lets you filter out location like coffee, bars or parks and find checked-in users and tips from foursquare.
This app also has a mobile version which will open it automatically when accessed from mobile devices or smart phones, It uses HTML5 for geolocation detection.
New search feature is implemented in CheckinMania for foursquare. You can now search for specific types of foursquare venues and find checkins around. This will make it easy for example to just find out who are checking in to Starbucks around an area or look for all Starbucks Mayors. This search is only available for foursquare tab in CheckinMania. Visit CheckinMania.com and select the Foursquare tab to use this feature.
Find out who are tweeting from places around you. Twitter is now one of the options available in checkinmania.com to browse places around and look for any tweets tagged with venues, you might just find some interesting comments/ reviews about the place. You can access this by going to http://checkinmania.com/twitter . Currently twitter has only enabled places for US. If you want your tweets tagged to a restaurant/bar or any place, just use the “add your location” option below the status update box on http://twitter.com.
There are rumors that Facebook is planning to add location feature, expect that to be integrated to CheckinMania.com as soon as APIs are released.
With so many location based services out there, imagine if they all used a common open places database, more interesting apps and visualizations can be developed. A lot of people have been requesting to combine all the services in one map, so that clicking on one venue/place will show tweets from the place, foursquare, gowalla checkins and other reviews, its just not easy to do this unless they all use a standard location database.
(BTW, brightkite is also implemented and functional now, however the data does not look that interesting, looks like not a lot of people are using this service anymore)
UsersLike.me: Find Gowalla users who check-in at same locations as you
New web app UserLike.me helps you look up users who check-in at same locations as you checked in using Gowalla. Of course it will only work if have the privacy option turned OFF. It did not find anything initially for me, I have the privacy turned ON in Gowalla.com, worked great after I turned OFF privacy option in Gowalla settings. It also shows people who have multiple spots in common with you, this is something useful that is not available on Gowalla.com. Just common check-in at a venue is available on Gowalla.com. It is a very neatly designed website: UsersLike.me
4 new Location based services at TechCrunch Disrupt
FriendsAround Me, WeReward, GeoToko and Scvngr are the latest new location based apps seen at TechCrunch Disrupt Conference NYC. All are location based services similar to Foursquare/Gowalla but with a slight twist.
Friends Around Me is a location based app that helps you find and meet people around you interacting with them using in app chat. It shows friends location on a map. It also has an option to check-in to foursquare.
WeReward is a location based check-in that pays everytime to check-in to a location. Earn WeReward points by completing tasks and checkins at your favorite businesses with your iPhone. Each point is worth a penny, earn 1,000 points and cashout to PayPal. WeReward is planning to make advertising deals with businesses and charge them when a customer actually checks in and buys merchandise at the business which are verified through a process using photos submitted by the consumer, GPS data and manual reviews.
SCVNGR is a location based check-in game app that lets to challenging things at places like take a photo, solve a riddle, scan a QR code, do an activity and earn points/badges. SCVNGR has already partnered with many universities and other partners who are building on top of SCVNGR to engage users with challenges in app. Its pretty impressive how SCVNGR has partnered with so many clients. SCVNGR has a great opportunity to build a huge user based especially with all the universities they have partnered with.
GeoToko is not a location based check-in app but its a tool to manage location based campaigns. It help businesses create a fully branded contest at a venue by leveraging popular location based services like foursquare and gowalla to reward users.
TweetDeck release 0.34 has added support for Foursquare. You can now check-in to locations, view tips, view venue details, check friends updates and more. There is also a interactive map to view your friends check-ins and venues. TweetDeck now has support for Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz and Foursquare. I’m guessing this will be available soon on the iPhone version of TweetDeck which will be more useful for check-ins. Below is a video posted on TweetDeck blog:
Universal check-in app "Check.in" comes out of closed beta
Check.in, a universal check-in web app developed by Brightkite is out of beta and open to all users today. Check.in does location matching between services and then allows users to check-in to multiple location based services. It had Brightkite, Foursquare and Gowalla during the closed beta, it has added 2 more location based services Whrrl and TriOut. It works by detecting user location by using the HTML5 geolocation and shows a list of nearby venues from Foursquare, after the user selects the location it gives the option to select the matching location from Gowalla and then you are set to Check-in. It is still a bit clumsy, but the best solution out there right now for checking in to multiple services. It will be surely useful for people using multiple location based services, but it may be too late in the game, most people have settled down to using one check-in app, It would have been useful earlier this year when the competition between Foursquare and Gowalla was high, but now it looks like most people have moved to just Foursquare. You can try out the service by using this link http://m.check.in on your iPhone, iPad or Android phone.
Foursquare has just opened a App gallery for third party developers to add Apps developed using Foursquare API. Developers can now use this link to submit their app to the Foursquare gallery. You can select categories for your app which include “Mobile”, “Website”, “Plugins”, “Visualization”, “Games” and “Others”. You can add up to four screen shots for your App. You will get your own URL for the App on Foursquare.com like this http://foursquare.com/app/checkin_mania
Foursquare did have a app gallery page before this, but you had contact foursquare by email and attach logo/descriptions to get it on there. This was good enough when there were few Apps around, but now looks like there are around 500+ foursquare apps out there.
Foursquare is doing this right by opening up a centralized App gallery, which is very useful for users to discover the app, something that Twitter did not do and relies on third party apps like Oneforty.com to aggregate twitter apps. Foursquare is still tweaking the design of this App gallery based on user feedback according to their blog. Analytics and user ratings are something that will be useful features to add. They have a facebook like button on the App pages for people to rate.
Brightkite to offer deals from Starbucks and custom badges
Brightkite has just announced on their blog that they are launching a brand partnership with Starbucks to offer deals for checked-in customers. You can now check-in to a local Starbucks using Brightkite during the Frappuccino happy hour (between 3pm and 5pm, from May7th to May 16th) and get half off on Starbucks Frappuccino. Once checked-in you can unlock your favorite Frappuccino badge to share on your profile.
This is great opportunity for Brightkite to get back into the location based social networking game. Foursquare is running away in the race who announced recently that they hit 40 million check-ins and 1 million users. Brightkite is trying to kickstart their strategy with this deal with Starbucks, they also announced a new unique feature “Group Texting” last month.
With so many companies trying to get in to the location based social networking, it is increasingly becoming a necessity for a unified check-in app and open location/places database. Hopefully there will be a solution soon.
We’ve made some changes in the way we list venues in the “Places” screen of our mobile apps and API. The problem with smart phones is that they’re good - but not great - at knowing exactly where you are. Also, there might be a lot of venues nearby that you are very unlikely to check into (like someone else’s apartment — which is great for them but not so much for you) that clutter up the list a little, and sometimes push the venue you want off the list altogether.
So in recent weeks we’ve been working on ways to bubble the best venues up to the top of the “Nearby” list. We consider things like the popularity of each venue, its distance from you (of course), and some neat effects like category and the current time — for example, at 8am you’re more likely to check into a coffee shop, but at 8pm bars and restaurants are more popular. We have sophisticated algorithms that balance all of these factors to present you the best possible list of venues so that you spend less time searching and more time enjoying wherever you’ve checked in.
Anyway, we’d love to hear your feedback on how the the new Places list seems to be working for you. And stay tuned… lots more good stuff in the works.
Assisted Serendipity: Get notifications for check-ins at your favorite venues
Foursquare powered app called “Assisted Serendipity” will send email notifications based on the check-in ratio of female/male at your favorite local venues. You sign-in with foursquare, select your favorite venues and set the male/female ratio for which you want notifications. The app will monitor these locations and will send you an email notification with the photos of checked in people. There is no iPhone app yet, but push notification will be very useful for this app. Currently you can only get notification based on male/female check-in ratio, it will be good to also have a feature to get notification when any check-in happens at venue based on gender. Assisted Serendipity is yet another example of possibilities for apps built based on location based services. It is a very well designed web app, easy to use and setup. Only downside is the app name is hard to remember, at least to spell it.
There was another similar app launched during SXSW called WhereTheLadies.at which will show the venues where there are more ladies checked in. Currently it only works for San Francisco, the developers are planning to expand it all locations. And it works with out any login.
Amazon EC2 server outage caused foursquare to be down for almost 4 hours on May 4th, most of you might have seen this image of a weeping Princess on Foursquare website (similar to the Fail Whale image displayed when Twitter is down). The issue has been resolved and the Foursquare app, website and APIs are all back up and running. Foursquare did a great job of constantly updating the status of the issue on its twitter account, @foursquare also @replied to over 250+ people who tweeted to foursquare about the issue during the 4 hours (6:00pm to 9:30pm PST). Here are the updates foursquare sent out on twitter:
Hey all, looks like we’re down again for a few. Amazon EC2’s Virginia cloud is having problems:http://status.aws.amazon.com Stay tuned. 5:57 PM May 4th via web
Outage update: Power restored to Amazon EC2’s Virginia data center, but we’re still waiting to connect to our machines. Stay tuned. 6:47 PM May 4th via web
Update from @harryh & @nathanfolkman: Machines are slowly coming back online. Stay tuned. (and send those guys some love! They’re hustling!) 7:33 PM May 4th via web
Update from @harryh & @nathanfolkman: Things slowly coming back up. Things will look like they’re working before they actually start working 8:00 PM May 4th via web
Update Servers slowly coming back alive. Remember, we’re not 100% there yet, so while some things work, others may appear wonky for a bit. 8:43 PM May 4th via web
Outage Update: Website is back to 95%, API (and all the mobile apps) slowly crawling back. Special shoutouts to @harryh & @nathanfolkman! 9:02 PM May 4th via web
Alright people, looks like we’re back to 100%! Go & get your checkins on! (and send some love to @harryh & @nathanfolkman for their hustle!) 9:11 PM May 4th via web
A'ight friends, I am headed to bed. Thx for all your patiences during the outage! (Android/BB/Palm users, restart and you should be okay!) 9:32 PM May 4th via web
I guess few people during this down time actually started using the “poor man’s check-in” process: people tweeting in similar style to a tweet sent out after a foursquare check-in. Funny, shows how serious some people are about registering their check-ins.
There is a new iPhone App available on App Store called GeoLorean that aggregates your friends check-in stream from Foursquare, Gowalla and Brightkite. It is a very simple app that helps you keep track of all your friends check-ins. There is also an option to open to Check.in web service, which lets you check-in to Foursquare, Gowalla and Brightkite. Check.in is still in beta currently, however this app has already integrated it in the app.
Gowalla has not yet publicly released APIs for checking in to their service, they just have APIs for getting user and venue information. Once they release APIs, look out for more fully functional aggregated check-in mobile apps to be released.
Gowalla iPad App is now available for free in the Appstore. The app is more focused on exploration and place discovery, along with all the features available on their iPhone app. One of the cool feature is the map view to explore where your friends are checked in relative to you, perfect for an iPad use case. The map will show pushpins with the picture of your friends, you can click on your friends icon and get details. Other than that you get all functionality thats available on Gowalla.com website plus the iPhone app functionality. You can also check-in using the iPad app, but I don’t see a whole of people using an iPad to travel with it to a restaurant and check-in, it will probably be useful while you are sitting on the couch with your iPad to browse places to visit or check where your friends are/have checked in. The app itself is very well designed. Below are some of the features of Gowalla iPad app:
See your friends activity along with a map view of their location in relation to you.
View and explore all locations and venues on the map.
Foursquare to decide to sell or raise venture capital in 2 weeks
According to Bloomberg, Foursquare Co-founder and CEO, Denis Crowley has said that he will be deciding whether to sell foursquare or raise venture capital in the next 2 weeks. “we’ll have it resolved in a couple of weeks. I want to end the distractions and get back to work.”
According to TechCrunch - Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook are all trying to acquire Foursquare. Denis Crowley’s similar startup ‘Dodgeball’ was sold to Google which ended up in dead pool and he left Google frustrated. Google probably knows that they have no second chance with Crowley, that’s probably why Google is not joining the bandwagon to acquire Foursquare.
Foursquare has raised $1.35 billion in the first round and is planning to raise somewhere around $10 million at $60-$70 million valuation. If they decide to sell it could probably be in the range of $100-$150 million. Yesterday Foursquare reached 1 million users just one year after launch. Foursquare has about 170,000 users at the end of 2009, 500,000 users just before SXSW 6 weeks ago and now 1 million.
Foursquare vs. Gowalla: Who struck geolocation gold?
Via Mashable, here is Social Analytics of Foursquare vs. Gowalla one month after SXSW. The Data Visualization and statistics of geolocation competition shows the sentiments and social mentions on Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz and videos. Here is the complete blog post by Mashable.
Business owners can now claim ownership of venues on foursquare to add special offers or track stats of check-ins to their venue. Business owners can now offer specials based on mayorship, check-in count or check-in frequency. Detailed real time stats are also available to track recent check-ins, frequent visitors, histogram of check-ins per day and more. They also have official foursquare window clings available. Check out the new Foursquare Business page to get more details for business owners.
The new Gowalla iPhone update has the search feature which will enable you to search for venues other than the ones found by proximity to the user. This was one feature that was missing in the Gowalla iPhone app that was frustrating to users. Glad to see this in the recent update. You can now search for places and look up information about the venue, look at photos, check-ins and more with out actually being close to that place. Here is the full blog post by Gowalla regarding this iPhone app update.
A new site called SnackSquare has launched a service that will show users where the foursquare specials and deals are located. Previously the only way to locate these deals was be in the neighborhood where the deals are and the Foursquare app would show the deals. SnackSquare helps you find these deals and specials easily on a map and get details so that you can plan where to go for lunch or dinner. They are also planning to enable business owners to send offers via SMS to user near the venue.
Over 150 parties planned for Foursquare Day - April 16th
April 16th will be celebrated as Foursquare Day (4/16. i.e. 4*4=16). There are over 150 parties arranged all over the world. You can check the locations at http://4sqday.com/. Most of the parties are in the US, there are some in Europe, China, Malaysia and Australia too. Check out the map here http://4sqday.com/map.
There will be an official foursquare badge to unlock for people attending the parties at these locations. There are also special deals at many of these venues offering like buy one get one free beer.
People living in NYC can attend the Foursquare Day party with the foursquare team at the Hotel on Rivington - Penthouse in Lower eastside NYC.
Twitter Places to challenge Foursquare and Gowalla?
Twitter announced today at the chrip conference that it is planning a new feature that will link geo-tagged tweets to an actual place. Not exactly a “check-in” feature like in Foursquare or Gowalla, but twitter is trying to get into that space.
According to Business Insider, both Denis Crowley of Foursquare and Josh Williams of Gowalla don’t seem to be threatened by Twitter’s announcements.
Here is a link to the post from Business Insider with both their responses.
Jason Calacanis and Mark Suster talk about Foursquare valuation of $80 million and rumors about potential acquisition by Yahoo for $100 million on the first episode of This Week in Venture Capital (TWiVC), Jason Calacanis’ latest podcast show.
Just created an submitted Google My Maps version of CheckinMania, (also called Google Mapplet) you can now view all checkins and tips from Foursquare and Gowalla on maps.google.com. (Just like the Foursquare Everywhere app on Bing)
Click here to add this app to your Google My Maps.
To preview the app working on Google Maps before adding, click here