Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Geolocation Apps

I'm not going into the "Pro, your friends can find you, Cons," debate because anyone with half a brain will check the privacy settings on any of their social networks before they post anything at all and I didn't originally join 4square for friends, but for the game aspect of it.

I'm going to complain about the two big contenders in the geolocation game world and then predict their demises.

Foursquare: I liked foursquare at first. The mayorship battle for our apartment complex was fun between me and my fiance for a while, but mayorships just aren't all that exiting here on the West Coast. You see, even in a large city like Sacramento or town with a large concentration of young, college age kids (the target demographic for many social networks), the number of people playing foursquare is relatively small. I have had weeks where I've created more venues than checked into already-existing ones.

The redeeming quality of the app was that I could score badges by going to interesting places around me. Those soon dried up, however, as most of those badges are given out for tech-convention goers and people on the East Coast. Most of the badges are made for New York. You'd think New Yorkers had enough badges already. With all the mobsters running around, you'd think they'd have better things to do, right? I have never been to New York, but foursquare has made me resent it for alienating the rest of the 300 million people who choose not to live in it's hell-hole just to get a Bravo badge (am I right?).

Foursquare eventually started offering a few more "universal" badges, but after such a tease, there they go again. More Convention badges, more exclusive badges tied to interests and places that a small, select number of (probably hipster assholes) people go. Ski resorts, tanning salons, etc, and of course, more places to eat in New fucking York. I've never been really into the "East Coast, West Coast" thing, but hey, after foursquare has been keeping us in the dark, I've just got to say, we don't need no stinking batches!!! West Siiiide!!

The good thing about foursquare is you can create venues and report edits from your home computer. This brings me to Gowalla. As soon as I got an iPhone 4, I downloaded Gowalla because their passport is much more fun, the graphics are nicer, and there is an extremely large number of "pins" (their version of badges) that can be unlocked universally.

Then I tried to create a venue. There was nothing on the site that I saw that would create one from my desk top, so I used my phone. I wanted to input the Sac City College Davis Extension where I'll be taking my ASL class so I wouldn't have to do it before class. So I put in the title on the iPhone app, picked a category and hit next, thinking the next screen would be address info, and it told me thank you. Sac City College can now be checked into from the other side of town in my apartment building. Thank you, Gowalla for fail.

At this point, I won't even go into the stupidity of using Waze and parking my car and it thinking I was in a traffic jam. I'm just going to say that I think geolocation apps are going to slowly peter out as I've seen my friends slowly use the apps less and less and none (NONE) of my other friends have come into the fold since I joined. And yes, I have a lot of friends...

That is all the ranting and raving for now. I'm off to a friend's birthday celebration now. Here's to good times NOT checking in!

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