I was in Brisbane for a few days last week with my family, and not having spent a lot of time in that city, I don’t necessarily know all the good places to go and things to do. Many times I pulled out my iPhone and fired up the Foursquare app to see what was around.
Foursquare is one of a number of location aware apps that knows where you are and tells you what’s in your immediate location. You can explore what’s around by category, for example restaurants. To narrow down the results, I searched for Indian – there were several but they were on the other side of town – too far to walk.
The I searched for the most popular restaurants. With each restaurant, you can see tips that have been left by other people who have been there. We read the tips left by the top restaurant and there were 22 rave reviews. So that’s where we went, and it really was a great dining experience (the restaurant was Vapiano).
On Foursquare, once you get to a place, you can ‘check in’, and have the option of notifying your friends, and even posting your location to your Facebook and Twitter account.
There is a marketing component to all this that businesses can take advantage of. A business can offer deals to those who check in, which in turn promotes the business to the customers online friend network, which can be substantial.
Also, when in an area that you are unfamiliar with, you can not only see what’s around, but also see what deals are being offered to Foursquare users. The place offering the best deal might just get your business.
Foursquare is a great tool, but it may well be left behind by the newly launched Facebook Places, which is a similar concept, but with 10 million Australians already using Facebook, they have a big head start.
Location based social networking services – they really are the next big thing.