Foursquare’s primary purpose is as a mobile friend finder, so they’ve concentrated their efforts on building mobile apps where users can check in and find their friends. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t times when you’d want to check in using a computer, especially a laptop that goes everywhere with you. Using the Foursquare API, several enterprising developers have created apps that allow you to check in and see what your Foursquare friends are up to using your computer.
Mac OS X
If your computer is running Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard you can use FoursquareX to check in. It uses WiFi triangulation to find the venues closest to you and displays them on a map. It will even remind you via Growl to check in if it detects you’re near a Foursquare venue. You can also see where your friends are on map and get Growl notifications when someone else checks in to the same venue as you. (Full Review) UPDATE (8/19/11): FoursquareX has not been updated to work with version 2 of the foursquare API, so it no longer works.
If you’re a Firefox user, add-on FoursquareFox adds a toolbar that shows you the nearest venues (using Firefox’s location services) on a map and lets you check in to them right from your browser. It will also show you your friends’ whereabouts on a map. You must have WiFi enabled for FoursquareFox to work. (Full Review)Â UPDATE (8/19/11):Â FoursquareFox has not been updated to work with version 2 of the foursquare API, so it no longer works.
Tweetdeck is an Adobe Air Twitter client with Foursquare integration. As with any Adobe Air application, it works on Mac, Linux or Windows. Once you add your Foursquare account to Tweetdeck, you can check in by clicking the location icon and choosing to post the update to your Foursquare account. You can choose from a list of locations you’ve recently checked in to or add a new location by searching a list of nearby venues. Any text you add in the update box will be added as a shout when you click “Send.” You can even use Tweetdeck’s scheduling service to schedule Foursquare checkins for a later date (“No, boss, I wasn’t at the beach Friday. See, I checked in at the office on Foursquare!”) (Previous Coverage) UPDATE: This only works on TweetDeck versions through v.0.38.2.
You can’t check in directly from the Foursquare website, but for a simple, no-install checkin experience, you can turn to the mobile web in your regular browser. Foursquare’s spartan mobile site will let you check in and see a list of your friends’ locations. You can set your current city on the site to tell Foursquare where to search for venues, but in crowded cities with lots of venues with the same name (think Starbucks in New York) it can be difficult to find the one you’re looking for. Check-ins made this way are not eligible for mayorships, but they are eligible for points and badges.
Cotchin is a more fully featured mobile site (it works fine on the desktop, too) that searches for nearby venues using your browser’s HTML5 location services. That makes it much easier to find the actual venue you’re looking for. It also features a much more pleasing design. (Full Review)
Do you ever check in from a computer instead of a mobile app? What program or service do you use? Let us know in the comments.