What is Foursquare
Service called Foursquare is getting attention from Japanese early adopters recently. I’ve got more than twenty friend requests in one day in Foursquare, and that is apparently, because of an article famous blogger wrote. I’ve just started using it, found a few appealing points.
The basic usage is to post information about the place you are currently around. Though this sounds a typical location based service, there’s some characteristics you should check out:
- User motivating point system, Mayorship, Badges.
- You don’t need to post precise location since you can check-in to places someone else already have registered.
- If the place is not registered yet, you can register and get points.
- You can leave Tips on the place. For example, you can tell people that the restraunt’s curry is good.
- You can add Todos from Tips other people left on the place, so that you can someday accomplish it.
Thus, Foursquare is a kind of service that the more people join, the more people enjoy. There might be other reasons people give focus on it, I’ll keep trying to find its goodness.
By the way, did you notice that there’s some socialweb trends that Foursquare is following on this service.
Typical socialweb service design
Yes, it’s social. Most of the services starting recently are social, and others will follow, too. It’s really hard to gain users without making the service social. It’s too common for readers of this blog, though :)
In Foursquare, you can check your friends’ where about, tips of the place you visit.
Facebook Connect / Twitter Compatible
It’s being common to adopt Facebook Connect or Twitter to a service these days. You can skip time consuming registration process – filling your name, finding friends, etc. (Foursquare requires you to complete a form, though) Some of other services don’t ask you to fill all.
What is interesting about Foursquare is that, Foursquare’s profile url is numeric by default. But once you connect Twitter account to it, its profile url turns to the one with Twitter’s screen name.
Importing Friends List
One of the reasons I got many friend requests seems because of Foursquare’s functionality to find Twitter’s followers and friend them quickly. Of course, you can do the same with Facebook friends.
The most significant reason for connecting to social service is activity stream. By being able to post feedback, the service can attract user’s friends. I know it’s needless to say on this blog, how this is effective.
By using this feedback, you can share realtime event to your friends. There’s been events like this on twitter, and this on Ustream, for example. It’s getting common to have realtime event sharing on the web.
On Foursquare, you can of course feedback activities to Twitter or Facebook. You may be able to find your friend visiting neighbor by tweet on twitter from Foursquare.
iPhone / Android apps
There’s tendency that services release iPhone / Android applications along with its web service. They are not just application on smartphones, but something that take advantage of its GPS.
Foursquare is a typical example for this kind, they have iPhone, Androind and Palm Pre version of apps.
So, how do japanese service do?
- Are they social?:
- Support Facebook Connect / Twitter?:
The number of Twitter compatible services are rising, but for Facebook, since there’s not so many users in Japan, I don’t see Facebook Connect so often. How about mixi Connect and GREE Connect? Unfortunately, they are not public yet.
- Do they feedback activities?:
It’s important that receiver services’ acitivty stream is popular enough. But unfortunately, there’s no real activity-stream-ed service in Japan yet. Let’s wait for mixi or GREE to maximize its activity stream’s possibilities.
- iPhone / Android apps
You can develop smartphone apps in japan too!
Now you see, there’s potential viral effect, by utilizing social media like Twitter or Facebook. While Japanese service are delaying, you can use them and spread the service.
If you couldn’t find what’s good about being social, imagine Foursquare without characteristics I’ve introduced on this article. Not social, not able to import friends, not able to feed back activities… You may have imagined service you’ve used 5 years ago.
The slide I’ve introduced at SocialWeb Conference last year may be effective yet. Check it out.
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