Before I begin, let it be known: I think downloading a location-based social app is the epitome of throwing away your privacy... especially when your geographic records will be made public.
With that said, since we’re developing location-based apps at the office, I figured that I needed to put my personal opinions aside, create a fake e-mail, a new alias, and download Foursquare’s iPhone app to try n’ understand this location-based thing a little better by becoming a user.
Our business development architect, @mike_zurk (follow him… the rest of the world does), was sitting next to me when I made the transformation from a Foursquare skeptic to a Foursquare user. The first thing we wanted to do once I joined this privacy-robbing app was to become Foursquare “friends” with each other…. problem was… there was no button for that.
There was a “nearby” button to see what was happening in the near vicinity. There was a “check-in” button for me to seemlessly give away my geographical privacy. There was a “recent” button with my latest activity. The bottom toolbar had a “places”, a “tips”, a “to-do list”, and profile button…. but no “add friends nearby” button.
So, we figured since we were in the same location that we’d be able to find each other easily… Nope. We were sitting right next to each other, but we we “checked-in” to sepate locations. I was checked in at the office. Mike was checked-in on the office’s 2nd floor…. yes, these “check-ins” were considered seperate locations… and it toook us a while (10 minutes) to check-in to the same place, find each other, and become friends…. yep, sitting right next to one another. After we became friends, I was happy that I set up a fake e-mail account for my Foursquare, because they spammed me with an update that Mike had become my friend. Sitting right next to him, I was aware of that fact… but Foursquare obviously felt the need to remind me… even though they knew where we both were. Advanced & Smart = Big Difference.
All in all, I was underwhelmed by the social side of Foursquare as a first-time user. But, they say don’t complain unless you can do something. Since Foursquare has an API, we’re going to bring social in. Becuase, otherwise, you’re using Foursquare to check-in to places so that people you don’t know can know where you are. There was a crafty site up for this a while back called PleaseRobMe.com.