One of the most common complaints about foursquare is the time it takes to check in when you arrive at a venue. A recent survey showed that 38% of users who had at least heard of foursquare didn’t play because they found it “too time consuming.” It was also the focus of a “rant” by Jesse Thomas of JESS3 (one of our sponsors) titled “What Sucks About Foursquare Today.”
Future Checkin, a new iPhone app, hit the app store today and aims to fix all that. It uses iOS4′s background location features to check you in automatically when you’re near your favorite venues. This offers a huge change from the checkin culture we’ve become accustomed to and will be a very welcome app for many foursquare users.
After logging in to your foursquare account, you add venues to your list of favorites either by searching nearby venues or from your checkin history. The app then sits in the background and when you get close (within 300 meters) toÂ venues you’ve marked as favorites , you’ll be automatically checked in.
In the settings you’ll find a kill switch that can turn off the app completely, along with options for checking in automatically to your favorites or your recent history. The latter option, as it implies, will automatically check you in to venues you’ve been to recently. You can also toggle notifications, which show the iPhone’s push notifications when you’ve been checked in automatically. Additionally you have an option to adjust the frequency at which the app checks the GPS, offering a tradeoff between greater accuracy and better battery life.
Developer Tim Sears tells TechCrunch that he hopes to add Gowalla checkins to the app once they open up their API, which will hopefully happen within a week. This would make it even more useful, since checking in on two (or more) services only increases the checkin fatigue.
This is a great app for foursquare power users who regularly visit the same venues. For new places, you’ll still need to check in the old fashioned way, which is good because you have the ability to see tips people have left. The biggest disadvantage I see to the app â€” other than a potentially fast battery drain â€” is losing the ability to see “who’s here” each time you check in.
The app is on sale this week at 99 cents â€” 50% off the regular price â€” so download it today and let us know if it improves your checkin experience.
Here’s a video by Sears that shows Future Checkin in action:
/Spotted via TechCrunch