Editorial: Is Foursquare relevant anymore, is it even needed?

Posted on Jan 2 2013 - 10:21am by Mike Wewerka
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foursquare check in 580x290 Editorial: Is Foursquare relevant anymore, is it even needed?

As Facebook’s places and Google own check-in services gain users, is Foursquare really relevant anymore? I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a “former” user of Foursquare. However, I decide to ditch the service a long time ago because I felt like I was being a pretentious d-bag, because I was checking in places, for the sole purpose of letting my friends know where I was, at all times… as if they actually cared. That’s really the catch, other than a few small “offers” that some retailers give users, what’s the point of Foursquare? When you go somewhere, do you really need to whip out your phone and “check-in” just so your followers know where you are at that given moment? I’ve literally been with someone, that when we got out of the car, they immediately took their phone out and asked me to stop walking, so they could check-in on Foursquare, to which I replied, “Why? So your 8 followers know you’re here?”

Foursquare recently announced some new changes, they are shifting from their typical Check-In service to a more “Discover Local Places” service. In the changing process, so that you can find your friends, they are going to now show members full names, first and last, instead of just a last initial. While this may make it easier to find someone, it also reveals more of a user’s privacy. On top of that, when users check into a place, merchant can now view users information for a much longer time, than the previous 3 hour window. Users can decide whether or not to opt-out of this feature of sharing with local businesses, but many people won’t even know its on by default or where to turn it off, which is an issue in and of itself.

So the question remains, is Foursquare still relevant? Google already has a much greater discovery service already built into its mobile homepage on m.google.com, not to mention that if people “choose” to, they can check in via Google and even Facebook. Even services like Instagram allow users to tag their location when taking a picture, without having to come off looking like an attention whore. Maybe I’m missing something, but I can’t understand why people find achieving fake badges so entertaining. The fact that you go somewhere so much, that you deserve a fake badge in an app, isn’t exactly something to be proud about. It’s sad.

So please, tell me, am I missing something? Other than receiving a free order of mozzarella sticks at TGIFridays because I checked-in, what’s so intriguing about Foursquare that keeps the app relevant? Why should it pull me away from services offered by Google and Facebook, where I can search my friends much easier and vice versa, without having my full name exposed to millions of people I don’t know?