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May 11, 2010

Foursquare tweaks make it easier to 'check in'

Posted: 03:46 PM ET

For anyone who's ever tried to check in somewhere on Foursquare, only to mutter, "No! That is NOT where I am," help is on the way.

The makers of the burgeoning mobile game/social-networking tool said Tuesday that they've tweaked the way venues appear on their "Places" page.

When a Foursquare user wants to check in at a location, they pull up the "Places" page and scroll down until they find the right spot. But sometimes the phone's GPS coordinates don't quite match reality, requiring the user to type in the name of their location to find it.

"The problem with smartphones is that they’re good - but not great - at knowing exactly where you are," the folks at Team Foursquare wrote on their blog. " Also, there might be a lot of venues nearby that you are very unlikely to check into (like someone else’s apartment — which is great for them but not so much for you) that clutter up the list a little, and sometimes push the venue you want off the list altogether."

The newly rejiggered algorithim now takes into account things like the popularity of a venue and work harder to pinpoint the ones closest to the user.

A pretty cool tweak now considers what time of day the check-in is occurring. So, as the Foursquare folks write, at 8 a.m., a coffee shop would get priority on the list while, at 8 p.m., a restaurant or bar might move to the top.

Foursquare promises more changes to come, making it quicker to check in then ... you know ... do whatever it was you went to that spot to do in the first place.

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Filed under: Foursquare • Games • mobile phones

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Jim H   May 12th, 2010 5:44 am ET

what's the point?

S.   May 12th, 2010 6:45 am ET

So when you say you aren't at home, someone can break into your house and rob you blind.

Dodo's aren't Extinct!   May 12th, 2010 7:48 am ET

Attention those of the criminal mind:

I will be out of town starting May 13 and ending May 19. Please feel free to do as you please with my home and the personal belongs therein.

P.S. I would appreciate it if you did not break my $100 lock or my $400 front door. Therefore I left the key underneath the welcome mat.

Jason   May 12th, 2010 10:22 am ET

First, you have to actively check in. It doesn't magically follow you checking in your every stop.

Secondly with security settings you can decide who you want to see your checkins; so if you get robbed because of a foursquare checkin you can pretty much tell it was one of your friends who already knows where you live.

Third, most of us work 9-5 jobs anyway. If I want to break into your house I don't need tech, just see if your car is in the driveway.

Yes there is an added risk, but that's what they said about ATM cards and how often do you worry about someone stealing your pin so they can wipe out your account?

Finally, the potential benefit of foursquare is really in it's tips. People can leave comments like "Avoid the pastrami." so that it becomes a mobile version of a service like Yelp.

Patrick   May 12th, 2010 10:36 am ET

We signed up for 4 square in all of our restaurants, customers who come often and play fair are constantly being beat by customer who never come through the door. Some people tell me they are able to check in from their living rooms 300-400feet away. How did something so full of flaws become so popular. It doest really do anything

Dodo's aren't Extinct!   May 12th, 2010 10:53 am ET

So other than having an uncontrollable urge to fill one's ego with the sense that people actually "WANT" to know what your whereabouts are as an adult, why would anyone want to actually tell the world where they are at all given hours of the day? Do people really feel compelled to try and live the life of a celebrity through these programs?

K in AZ   May 12th, 2010 11:31 am ET

@Dodo's...I suppose that "uncontrollable urgeto fill one's ego" is very similar to the one that supposes everyone in the world wants to hear your thoughts in response to a blog post, no?

I often laugh at people who are so adamant about these location services, especially as Google, twitter and FB all move to copy the functionality. Somebody must be interested in the technology.

As for the oft-repeated notion that if you check-in at the In and Out Burger on Foursquare every criminal in the world will rush to your house; I wonder how many of these same people update their Facebook status to brag about how their 3 week vacation in Bermuda is going? And we all know, only our very close personal friends are our FB friends...right?

Willy Hammershot   May 12th, 2010 12:10 pm ET

everybody and everything is the BFD... in this era! big heads and egos a muck. facebook for Social outlets and 4 square for how and where and when I to buy Conditioning product for my hair. fantastic.

I also can not think for myself therfor i have to bury my head into my phone and find out exactly what everybody did while they "checked-in". This app. is more like checking-out it seems.

Dodo's aren't Extinct!   May 12th, 2010 12:34 pm ET

@ K in AZ:
First, I wouldn't know since I don't use any social media network sites. Why need a website for friends to talk with when you can easily meet up with them, or in the case that they are a distance away, pick up the phone. You can try and play the card regarding "long distance" charges, but most cell phones offer free calling minutes at some point in the day. And if your argument leans towards overseas persons you would want to contact: email and Skype.

I am not stating my opinion as far as the lack of usefulness for a product like Foursquare: I am merely pointing to the fact.

As you stated:
"As for the oft-repeated notion that if you check-in at the In and Out Burger on Foursquare every criminal in the world will rush to your house; I wonder how many of these same people update their Facebook status to brag about how their 3 week vacation in Bermuda is going? And we all know, only our very close personal friends are our FB friends...right?"

Really sound logic there. Allow me to provide you with some hindsite there my friend. I bet everyone was saying "Who would ever think to fly planes into buildings?" "Who would ever think to pack a Ryder truck full of fertalizer?" "Who would ever think a few kids would bring guns to school?" Extreme cases but they are more or less there to defunct your false logic.

Critic   May 12th, 2010 2:05 pm ET

Seems like a silly application to me.

Arlene   May 12th, 2010 6:39 pm ET

Thank you, Jason, for enlightening those who display such irrational fear of technology. People can use an app like Foursquare in any way they see fit, and that's part of the challenge; finding new and innovative ways to use technology, even if it's just for fun.
Most of the people commenting here sound like simple naysayers that refuse to admit that their fear is based mainly on not knowing how to use new technology. Many years ago, there were these people that proclaimed that an automobile was an unnecessary invention and a waste of time and money, and who would have use for such a thing anyway?
You can embrace technology or not, but I must tell you -it's here to stay.

young whippersnapper   May 12th, 2010 7:00 pm ET

I'll be 'Checking In' on the lawns of many of my fellow commenters.

If only they had Foursquare, they could conveniently tell me to extricate myself from their premises without needlessly raising their canes nor their voices.

Rae   May 12th, 2010 11:11 pm ET

Hi, I'm new to foursquare. How can I check-in the various locations? Somehow, when I come to the venue page, I can't "check-in", can only "add tag" and "add tip".


Johnny NoOne   May 12th, 2010 11:24 pm ET

I just cant wait to start telling every theif in my city that I am not at home. Sorry but these GPS based services are just dumb.

Old school   May 13th, 2010 7:38 am ET

What is four square? We used to play it in first grade, where four kids bounced a ball back and fourth. Ahhh, memories!

Mark.   May 13th, 2010 8:37 am ET

This game is obnoxious. I follow several friends on Twitter and their %^&$#$% Foursquare updates keep polluting the stream! I don't care a rotten fig that you're at Arby's or at the Car Wash, or are the Mayor of Ted Snetterton Ford (though Ted Snetterton might have something to say about that)

I really don't get the appeal of announcing to anyone who might be reachable where you are at any given time whether they care or not. This sort of thing used to be the stuff of nightmares of police-state dystopias, not some lame game.

Facebook is bad enough with it's intrusive 'where are you, what are you doing, who are your friends, post your whole freaking life up here so we can advertise to you and nerf our privacy rules into ineffectiveness, and oh, join my mafia wars/farm/vampire clan/pillowfight/whatever so I can get points and annoy still more people with irritating social network advertise*ahem* I mean games. Yeah, games. Not ad vehicles. No no no... Pheh.

MimoMe   May 14th, 2010 1:28 pm ET

This is gone overboard with the information that people put out there. I can just see an ex-girlfriend showing up at a place because of this app. crazy!

Sency   May 15th, 2010 6:33 pm ET

Foursquare is the hot topic right now on the web. Everyone talks about it

Carlo   May 30th, 2010 9:00 am ET

I am a single dad of a 15 yr old boy & a 13 yr old girl and I think foursquare is great! They check in at least every two hours & whoever checks in with the most points at the end of the week gets a pick from the prize jar. (extra allowance, pick restaurant for Friday dinner, etc). Technology is all in how you use it. One person's waste of time is another person's piece of mind!

In home personal training Long Island   December 5th, 2013 9:19 am ET

This post by CNN got me thinking about the time I lost my IPhone and the Find my IPhone app was really no help. My hat is off to the folks at Team Foursquare for trying to make their software as accurate as possible.
I hope that the mobile phone markers continue to perfect their gps systems

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