I have recently become caught up in the location based app fad for the iPhone (and other devices), using services such technologies as Foursquare and Gowalla.  i was in a pub after work on Friday with two colleagues who had no idea what location based apps were let alone who or what foursquare and Gowalla were so i was given the task of explaining it.

At that point it made me think about why i am even using them, i guess i had been swept up in the “will Foursquare beat Gowalla” debate without really thinking ‘do i _really_ need either of them to win?’ do i really need to check in everywhere i go?  The answer is the same as with most of these new web2.0 things, no, i don’t _need_ them, but they are fun and give your day an extra edge.  For example; when i am sitting on the bus heading home and i get an alert to tell me one of my foursquare followers is on platform X of waverly station, its nice, i don’t know why but its nice to know that someone else you know is doing the commuter shuffle at the same time as myself.

But that’s not all, I am quite interested in my family tree, who they were, where they lived, what job(s) they held, etc… I like to believe that these services take that a stage further. I would assume that every time i ‘check into’ somewhere is logged permanently against my user profile.  So, in theory, if i continue to use Gowalla, foursquare or whoever leaves the squared circle holding aloft the victors belt, my ancestors could not just see my DOB, wife, kids, career, they will also be able to see how i spent my time (arguably not necessarily a good thing), how long i spent at work, how often i visited my favorite restaurants, etc…

I think thats quite nice.

The only thing they still need to work out is how to better integrate the service into my life.  For example; i get an alert to say “i see you are in Illegal Jacks, would you like to check in?” oh how sweet that would be!


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