Enter Foursquare, the most popular geolocation mobile social network app on the market. It allows you to “check in” to places you’ve been and work your way up to mayoral status at different venues. Since Foursquare’s popularity has grown, so too has the popularity of geolocation applications and mobile social networks.
In this article, I am going to take a look at the best alternatives to Foursquare. While this technology still has a ways to go, a lot can be said about the apps that have already risen to the top.
[Note]: If you would like to be able to check-in to multiple geolocation apps at one time, you should “check out” Check.in. A lot of the apps supported by Check.in are featured in this article. You can also find some great mobile social networks for finding your friends here.
- Blackberry (Bold/Curve/Pearl)
- Palm (Pre Plus/Pixi Plus)
Gowalla is the top alternative to Foursquare. It’s so popular, in fact, that this could have easily been a ‘Top Alternatives to Gowalla’ article and I could have been talking about Foursquare right now. Maybe in a parallel universe, but I digress…
Beth did an excellent job covering Gowalla back in March, so I’ll just go over the key features here.
Like Foursquare, Gowalla allows you to check-in to various locations either by phone app or via their mobile site. There is currently no way of checking-in through the regular website, but check-ins can be pushed by linking accounts to Facebook and Twitter.
Gowalla features trips, which allow you to link up to 20 related spots, which you can then place into categories. Spots and trips can be featured, which gives a special status, icon, and highlight on the website. Landmarks tend to be featured spots while trips are picked by their uniqueness.
After you check-in, you can receive bonus items which you may swap with others or drop at spots. You can become the founder of a spot if you drop an item there. If you want to keep an item forever, simply place it in your vault.
- Android (app coming soon)
- Blackberry (app coming soon)
- Mobile Web
Whrrl is a fast up-and-comer in the world of geolocation apps. You can use it by navigating to the mobile site on your phone.
With Whrrl, you can share recommendations of things to do based on your interests and places you like to visit. You can find others who share your common passions and interests in more than 400 different societies, or you can create your own society.
You can keep your check-ins private, share them with only trusted friends, all friends, the public, or share them on Facebook and Twitter. Also, you can join someone’s check-in to add your point of view and earn points and rewards for others completing your recommendations.
- Nokia & others
Brightkite offers a “simple way to keep up with friends and places”. It’s a mobile social network that lets you see where all your friends are, discover places in your neighborhood, and meet other locals along the way.
Brightkite allows you to pick your friends. People can be your fan, but only you can decide if they are a friend. Friendships are one-way.
Brightkite has a rating feature that allows you to rate posts up or down. You can also decide to share posts with friends, everyone, or social networks like Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook.
- Mobile Web
If you’re looking for real-time ratings of places around you, buzzd is for you. Find the hottest spots using the “buzzdmeter”, share updates with your friends and earn rewards with this app. You can also use buzzd by navigating to their mobile site.
You can use buzzd to see the real-time buzz from social networks like Twitter, Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp & more. Post a thumbs up (or down), comment, and view photos of any place from your phone. Broadcast ratings to your friends, Facebook, and Twitter.
The more places you rate, the more “influence” points you earn. Accumulate enough points and you can win some rewards, like gift cards, plane tickets, and concert tickets.
- Windows Mobile
- Nokia/Symbian OS
GyPSii (covered briefly here) is a location based mobile social network. Like the other apps on the list, GyPSii allows you to search for the people and places around you. You can edit maps with favorite places and comment/share them with friends or the whole community. Tag photos and videos to locations so others can see them as well.
GyPSii isn’t as well known as some of the other apps on this list, but I think it deserves some attention. I’d love to talk more about this app, but I think I’d rather show you:
In conclusion, there are some great geolocation apps out there building steam and becoming popular amongst the masses. As more and more people get better phones, you can expect to see more and more users of such apps. It will be interesting to see where these types of applications will take social networking. Twitter and Facebook are already very much in the game and are looking to integrate geolocation into their social websites.
What’s your favorite geolocation app? Do you use multiple apps or just stick with one? Leave your thoughts, ideas, and comments below!
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