Earlier this week, popular geo-social website, Foursquare, enabled their “Foursquare everywhere” feature. Since it’s inception, the company has offered their service (allowing users to “check in” at places and to discover new places in their area) in a select few cities. With the growing popularity of geo-social websites such as Foursquare and Gowalla, the demand for access to Foursquare in non-support cities has, over the last few months, grown substantially.
The “Foursquare everywhere” service allows users to specify their current city via a text box instead of a dropdown selection menu of available cities. When logged in, however, it is displayed as “elsewhere”. Some form of moderated city addition would be really beneficial here, in my opinion. There are definite pro’s and con’s to the choice of retaining exclusivity within Foursquare. It is due to this choice, I believe, that many potential Foursquare users have chosen Gowalla, which has no restriction of exclusivity on their service and allows check-ins at any point as well as point creation, stamps for checking in, pins for accomplishments and various other features similar to those of Foursquare.
Over the last few years, each year or two has seemed to have had a “buzz word”. The last year or so was Twitter, the concept of tweeting and how it all worked and integrated into the average internet user’s daily online life. Before that was the Facebook craze, people finding old friends from their school days and joining groups about going out on the weekend, discussing popular topics of the moment or how much they love kittens. These trends don’t seem to fade away, but rather seem to overlap in a way, retaining their status while the next big one rises to the fore.
I see 2010 as the “year of the check in”. People will use services like Foursquare, Gowalla and any other services that arise from this growing trend, to share their experiences, find new places, meet people who share common interests and, essentially, as another tool in their social networking tool belt. Geo-tagging of images and tweets, Google Maps extensions for Flickr, Tumblr and WordPress.com exist. This (although having been around for some time now) seems to be the logical next step.