I will never forget sitting inside Phil'z Coffee about a year ago when Scott Beale told me about Foursquare. It was a recreation of Dodgeball, a location-based social project created by Google-ditchers. But this game was called Foursquare. A year after my first blog post about it, it's time for a progress report:
Foursquare added specific categories for venues, and is catching up to Gowalla in iconography. It's also pretty simple to use for the first time if you are a noob.
Home page: B
A solid B for the homepage of 4sq:
Even though it's simple and clean, there isn't much happening on the home page.
If a social website keeps my attention for more than a week, I think it has a chance of being successful. Foursquare has done that to the 52nd degree. And I don't see it losing my interest any time soon.
Having any stats at all is a luxury item. I give them an A- though because you can only go back a month.
Plays well with other services: A-
Using Facebook Connect to login is a must, but why not Twitter too? 4sq does a good job of integrating with Twitter and Facebook on the checkin front. Also, discovering friends is a piece of cake because you can login to these other services and find them with one click.
This social geodata is very valuable, but you can't really surface it very well natively on Foursquare. I hope they are using it on the backend somehow.
Foursquare's API has a lot of interactivity, but you still can't create badges, build missions, or create deals. There is also no "verified" business user account model yet. I know these guys have a lot of other things to worry about now, but building an infrastructure where business owners can create value in the system without emailing someone in biz dev would be awesome.
Last year Foursquare at SxSW was like Barack Obama in 2004: the word wasn't really about about him yet, but you knew he would win in the next election. This year, the stage is set for a few companies, including Gowalla, Microsoft, and Facebook, to compete and try to build a better, geotastic game for everyone to sacrifice their privacy for.
Are you a Foursquare user? Will it explode at SxSW, or fade away into oblivion?