Posts tagged Checkin
Today is National Cheeseburger Day! As if we really needed an excuse to celebrate the warm juicy goodness of ground beef grilled to perfection, dripping with gooey cheese, nestled in a fluffy warm bun, topped with cool crisp lettuce, juicy ripe tomatoes, fresh pickles and onions… (I may want a cheeseburger for breakfast now.) Yes, [...]
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Still not convinced that Foursquare wants to be more than a check-in game with points and badges? Today the company launched the latest of several search features that continue to position Foursquare firmly as a formal local search engine: a fully searchable history page where users can review…
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The first generation of location-based apps has fallen short. Most consumers don’t even know location apps exist, and only a tiny minority actually use them. Today’s apps focus on benefits for businesses, like being discovered by nearby shoppers, but they’ve failed to stir customers. Can next-generation companies like Geoloqi show us why location is valuable?
The Foursquare-style check-in has been pronounced dead before, but here are the results of the autopsy: Delivery.com has enabled its users to virtually check in to restaurants from which they’re ordering. Customers don’t have to go to the restaurant at all. Foursquare is fine with this. In other words, the location check-in has lost all meaning.
Check-ins didn’t have much meaning to begin with. A Forrester report in December found that only 4% of U.S. adults used location apps, and 70% don’t even know what they are. Though Foursquare has been on the market for nearly four years, the idea of intentionally blasting one’s present location to the world is a foreign concept to most people.
That’s understandable. What value does a check-in have to the user? At worst, it’s an invitation of real danger. Usually, it’s a mundane performance of “I’m at the grocery store!”, which is annoying noise to one’s friends and followers.
At best, check-ins provide local recommendations, which are easy enough to find online without broadcasting one’s dining habits. And now that virtual check-ins are possible without even physically being somewhere, check-ins are just absurd.
Even if a tiny minority of people check in to places, those users make enough noise to compensate for the rest. Uncontrolled check-in behavior is a kind of disorder. Geoloqi co-founder Amber Case calls it “geoloquaciousness.”
Adj. the act of someone incessantly updating their location on a social network for all to see, without understanding that it is mundane information.
Geloquaciousness syndrome results from a design flaw in the networks that support location sharing. The potential value of location sharing to people and the data-driven business models of social networking companies are at odds. One’s present location is about as sensitive a data point as Facebook or Google+ ever has to handle, so they have to bend over backwards to not betray their users’ privacy. They still fail too often.
The check-in is the best social networks can do. It allows them to collect at least one piece of location data to monetize, but it doesn’t compromise the user’s privacy for long. It’s a willful act; to check in is to willingly share where one is, even if one doesn’t fully grasp the consequences of doing so.
Find My Friends
The problem with check-ins is that they make too much noise and offer too little information. A check-in is just a single point in space and time. That’s a thin slice of the information that’s available about location now that smartphones are abundant.
“Location is a sensor,” Case says. “It adds context to what was motionless.” Motion and context are valuable data, though they make the privacy issues more touchy.
The major tech companies have hesitantly pushed location sharing beyond the check-in in dedicated, experimental products. These applications use real-time location, but they do so for closed networks.
Google Latitude and Apple’s Find My Friends allow users to grant each other permission to pinpoint each other on a map at all times, unless sharing is turned off. Microsoft’s We’re In app is more cautious, setting up temporary location sharing around an event that disappears when it’s over.
Facebook has taken a stab at real-time location sharing in its dedicated Messenger app, but it doesn’t go all the way. It allows users to drop a pin on a map while sending an instant message, but it doesn’t continue tracking.
This year’s trendy location apps track real-time location but don’t display it. They just send notifications when someone is nearby. These apps are best known for eating smartphone batteries for breakfast. Start-ups like Glassmap are already working to improve real-time location technology, expecting that a market will emerge.
But what kinds of software will serve that market? Check-ins to restaurants and finding friends on a map have evidently limited appeal. How does a location app bring value to more than 4% of people?
Location Is A Sensor
Geoloqi‘s co-founders are taking notes. “I had watched a lot of geo companies go down,” Case told Richard MacManus at South by Southwest this year, “and so I’d been keeping this large notebook of what made them go.” The reasons run the gamut from features, to timing, to pricing, and the technical hurdles of accuracy and battery life can be showstoppers.
She has teamed up with Aaron Parecki, champion of the quantified self. Parecki has been keeping track of the data generated by his day-to-day life since he was a kid, long before he could use smartphone sensors to help him.
His experiments in gathering and organizing data about himself have demonstrated that location data suddenly take on enormous value if they’re owned and personal, rather than mere “data entry for other companies.”
Location data that we control allows us to discover patterns in our lives. We can understand ourselves better and use the knowledge to be healthier and happier. We also develop an emotionally rich history. Imagine if your mobile device was able to send you this notification as you walked into a shop:
“Your grandmother checked in here 55 years ago.”
How’s that for a “value add?”
Pressing the Invisible Button
Case and Parecki say they believe that location’s social contract has not yet been defined. That’s why geoloquaciousness is rampant, and why the rest of us don’t see the benefit of these services at all. When thinking about location tracking, consumers default to fear about safety and privacy, and companies default to greed, looking for ways to extract money from the data.
Part of Geoloqi’s task is educational, outlining the terms of that contract and the benefits for both parties. As Case rightly points out, while location tracking might raise the specter of stalking for the uninitiated public, “everyone knowing where I am is the safest place I can be” if something actually goes wrong.
But there’s also positive, emotional value waiting to be unlocked by better location technology. The history and analytics we can gather about ourselves are fun, which is valuable enough, but they’re also helpful. A whole new class of businesses can be built to provide people and companies with more insight into the patterns we generate moving from place to place.
Geoloqi is learning to provide the tools for location services to be as light and ever-present as air. It also offers a free app for iOS and Android to demonstrate and test its approach. I’m walking around, testing it out, and getting comfortable pressing what Case calls “the invisible button” of sharing my location. Here’s what happened the first time.
Lead image by Aaron Parecki
Crowd image courtesy of Shutterstock
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Facebook is testing out a new design and set of features in the self-service ads creation tool. Campaigns will include both precise and broad category targeting. Facebook is also alerting Page admins that check-in numbers will be updated.
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Entertainment Check-In App GetGlue Now Features Visual Stream, Real-Time Convo And Personalized Guides
If you haven’t heard of GetGlue, don’t worry. Here’s how it works: After you’ve checked in to the entertainment you’re experiencing, GetGlue tells you who else is thinking about it, how many times you’ve checked-in, where it is trending on the site and how many others are currently checked into it. It connects people around entertainment, a trend that is increasingly becoming more mainstream as social TV expands. GetGlue saw an 800% increase from the beginning of the year to September.
Users can now vote, reply and check-in right from the stream, and preview a show, movie or artist.
The conversation tab brings up friends and comments from fans that are also checked-in at the moment. Because users can keep up with conversations in real-time, this feature seems like it will become a natural part of social TV.
In this update, both GetGlue iPhone app and GetGlue.com now feature guides based on a user’s own tastes, friends’ activity and GetGlue community trends. These guides make recommendations tailored to the user’s taste graph, focusing on shows, movies and music. In the redesign, GetGlue.com will now look more like the app.
One major site feature update to note on GetGlue.com is the check-in button, which is now located in the top navigation bar.
GetGlue users feel comfortable telling their friends what they’re watching, listening to and reading whereas doing a similar thing on Facebook makes most feel uncomfortable.
Last year GetGlue partnered with entertainment companies such as HBO, Showtime, Fox and PBS, among others. Earlier this year, it hit the million user mark. In April, GetGlue received a record number of check-ins,which was right around the same time it improved its mobile app, added badges and more. And all this without instituting frictionless sharing.
GetGlue started off as a browser extension, later transforming into a semantic and social recommendation service combined with an emotionally charged space for discussion around popular shows and movies. Earlier this year, GetGlue made a shift toward location, adding geo-location sports check-ins and Foursquare integration.
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Google is integrating additional mobile and Offers features with the Google+ social network. Upcoming features will allow check-in based offers, incentivizing Plus shout-outs for local businesses – but stepping on the toes of other Google se…
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Once a user checks into a show, movie, album, video game or other form of entertainment, they can engage in a conversation with others. It prioritizes updates from one’s friends, but mixes in “interesting” comments from others and select updates from Twitter.
Admittedly, GetGlue is slightly late to this game, but it’s a good thing they showed up. People have been chatting about TV shows and other entertainment on Twitter and Facebook for quite some time, and there’s even some early evidence that social media buzz has a correlation with high TV ratings.
It’s a logical update to GetGlue, whose functionality centers around checking into, discovering and commenting on entertainment content, be it the latest episode of “The Daily Show” or albums by popular indie rock artists. They’ve long featured the option to comment on others’ check-ins, but this update brings the conversation closer to real-time and adds a deeper integration with Twitter, where much of the chatter is already happening.
The results vary depending on what you’re watching and when. Checking into a popular show while it’s first airing is more likely to yield an immediate conversation than checking into an older episode of a show you’re watching on Hulu.
The update also includes the ability to post updates to Tumblr, just as users have long been able to update Twitter and Facebook, notifying friends and followers of recent activity.
For now, the new functionality only appears to be activated on the GetGlue website. Presumably, an update to the service’s mobile apps is on the way.
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