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PeerSquare – a little experiment with Foursquare and PeerIndex

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24 February 2011

Check out our proof of concept, PeerSquare. And read on why we built it.

Twitter as we pointed out before, is not in the location game.

Foursquare, on the other hand, has recently been in the news because of its fantastic levels of growth (see this infographic). Brian Solis has been waxing lyrical.

Meanwhile Godzilla Facebook has announced Facebook Places. Exciting times for developers wanting build cool location based applications?

Not yet.

As this Tweet from Wednesday night by Made by Many co-founder Stuart Eccles points out, neither Foursquare nor Facebook is showing dramatic numbers yet:

Emirates stadium, attendance 60000. 68 @foursquare checkins, 44 @facebook places checkins.

We did a quick check during the first day of the Davos conference this year. We found only 5 people checked into the main conference venue, and two in hotels nearby.

More anecdotal evidence from accross the pond with RWW’s co-editor Marshall Kirckpatrick Tweeting this week.

Have any illusion that @Foursquare is mainstream? I’m at a packed mall on Sat night and only 1 other person is checked in here.

Foursquare is of course famous for its use of game mechanics to drive usage and interaction. But it seems that while it might get people interested at first, these mechanics, like many games, do not have staying power (Point well made by Anjali Ramachandran).

Think about it. If Foursquare boasts over 6 million registered users, and a whopping 38,157,6000 check ins, it means that the average user has checked in only 63 times!

For Foursquare to have a point, it needs to be more useful. Just this week Foursquare hosted a hackathon in New York. Some good ideas there. We liked the winner best, precisely because it starts to make Foursquare more useful. It allows you to leave a private message to a friend that checks in to a specific venue.

Our idea – PeerSquare

Foursquare’s Tips is one of its most useful functions. They tell you a lot about a venue. But what about the people that are there now? What about the type of people that frequent the venue? (names and profile pictures are not that descriptive).

I have often checked into a venue and seen others who were also checked in there, but Foursquare did not tell me anything meaningful about them. What is missing is an identity layer.

So, we came up with this little mash-up combining Foursquare with Peerindex. It has two exciting use cases.

  • It allows you to get a better idea who is with you at a venue
  • It gives a measure of you how influential a venue is, or the type of people that go there

This was something we knocked up in a couple of days. Any ideas or suggestions to make it better would be grand. We are working on a souped-up mobile version.

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