Right now, social location apps like Foursquare require you to actively check-in when you’re in a new place, to get points and update your mates on where you are. However, with apps now able to run in the background on iPhone – as they have been on Android, Symbian and BlackBerry for a while now – people are starting to talk about ditching the check-in.
A new app called Future Checkin doesn’t quite do that, but it does automate the process for you in Foursquare. You fire it up, login to Foursquare, and then it works out where you are continuously, and automatically checks you into places where you spend more than three minutes.
You can add your favourite places to a list, and it pings you a notification whenever you’ve been checked in somewhere. Plus there’s a virtual Kill Switch, for whenever you want your location not to be broadcast to the Foursquare masses. There’s also a setting to tweak the GPS accuracy, to preserve battery life.
It’s an intriguing idea, although one that will surely be used in Foursquare’s own app sooner rather than later, which will reduce the need to spend money on Future Checkin. Even so, as a glimpse at a future where your phone handles the task of telling people where you are – a worrying thought for some people – it’s well worth a look.
That said, I do wonder about automating the process. Foursquare’s data can be a bit messy – for example some places have several different entries in its database – so how do you know Future Checkin is checking you in to the right one?