Tag Archives: Foursquare

Facebook gets serious about mobile.

We tuned into today’s Facebook event live via http://apps.facebook.com/facebooklive.

Amazingly, the last three months where we’ve had a Social Expedition breakfast, Facebook has also released big news. Today is no exception and boils down to three main points:

  • Single Sign-on for mobile
  • Location API’s
  • Deals

Here are the key takeaways:

Single Sign-on for Mobile

Think Facebook Connect, but for mobile. Here’s how it works (on your phone): login to Facebook, and then access Foursquare (or other participating app) without having to type a unique username and password for Foursquare. This same functionality has existed on the desktop for a while, but hasn’t existed with mobile apps until now. This saves a huge amount of login frustration.

Location API’s

Big news here is that you’ll be able to see where your friends have checked-in near your current location. Example: You’re standing outside of LunaWeb wondering where to go for lunch. You’ll be able to see that lots of your friends have previously checked in at Memphis Pizza Cafe…


For anybody following Proximity Marketing over the past few years, here’s a major step forward. Merchants can create deals and make them available to you based on your location (the deals are proximate). So using the above example of standing outside LunaWeb, in looking at Deals you’ll see that Asian Bistro up the street is offering a free appetizer with the purchase of two lunch specials. (Prediction: this will soon evolve into you being able to specify the types of deals you’re interested in and if you’d like them pushed to you, which is one of the original promises of proximity marketing… steps away.)

Also, Facebook is giving Android devices more attention than previously (this comes on the heels of news that Android is less than 10% away from iOS (iPhone) adoption and closing). In fact, the brand new Facebook for Android app is released today.

Are Location Based Services Safe?

Like anything else from your car to your toaster to your PayPal account – yes and no.

On the business side, it’s great to set up a check-in spot for your headquarters on Foursquare and Gowalla. There is little risk involved, and trends indicate that being present on these location-based services (LBS) will be beneficial to companies as proximity marketing gains momentum. (Proximity marketing: marketing that targets an audience based on their GPS location. Specifically in this case, through your mobile phone. We think this will be big.)

As a personal user, it can be fun to collect badges or prizes, to compete for mayorships, and just see where your friends have checked-in. There are risks, though. The tips below are helpful hints for minimizing risk on Foursquare and Gowalla, but they are by no means guarantees. The very nature of these platforms is to let people know precisely where you are, and there’s no absolute promise that only your friends will ever see that information.

If you accept those risks though, the tips below can help keep your information under your control.

  1. Don’t become Foursquare or Gowalla friends with anyone you do not know. You might receive many requests from acquaintances, local figures, even from the newspaper or a nearby restaurant. You might know the owner of the restaurant, but do you know for a fact they are the ones reading the updates? When we suggest you only friend people you know on Foursquare, we mean a person (not a group) whom you literally do not mind knowing exactly where you are at any given moment. Just stop and think before you hit accept. This may mean you have 3 Foursquare friends, but truly, that’s better than total strangers knowing where you are.
  2. Don’t “tell Twitter.” The second you push a check-in to Twitter, it’s public to the entire world. Hesitate even to let your friends on Facebook see that update. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Foursquare still has some pretty solid bricks in its “walled garden,” but the second that information gets to other platforms, it is way more likely to become public.
  3. Before you check-in, ask yourself this question, “If all the walled gardens fell and everyone could see everything, would anything really bad happen because of this check-in?” If not (and the cards usually seem to fall that way), go for it!

We hope you will sign up for Foursquare or Gowalla, because they’re wicked fun and they’re catching on. Leave comments with more tips to help people practice safe checking-in!