September 15, 2014
Since the very much unwelcome re-haul of Foursquare there has been much room for location based apps to gain traction with an eager user base. Foursquare’s new check-in app ‘Swarm‘ has totally divided up Foursquare, the platform now having one app to check-in with, and one app to discover new places. Bonkers? Yes. Wanted by the Foursquare users? No.
In the long term, Foursquare seem to be nudging their usability back to being somewhat appealing to what’s left of their user-base by introducing leader board systems for location visitors (similar to the former mayorship goal) and a small offering of playful features (WHY DID THEY CHANGE?! WHY?!)
So as users look for more diverse location based apps, a handful have come to the surface involving some great new ways to interact, discover and generally mix ‘being somewhere’ with ‘platform interaction’.
Very similar to Foursqaure in terms of checking-in or in this case dropping a pin somewhere, however users can leave links, images and generally anything at a specific location. They can also add ‘secret’ pins, only to be shared with a chosen few. Users can synchronise with Facebook, Instagram and import their Foursquare activity. (A neat trick for a potential user emigration) – It’s basically a new Foursquare with a lot less styling, leaving pretty much a blank canvas for new users to take ownership of.
Traces is very playful by nature. It combines geo location with augmented reality to give users the challenge of accessing a bubble of content by being near it and chasing it within its augmented view. Yes, you are chasing a digital bubble. Once you have found the bubble and targeted it you can then discover what your friend has left for you, be it a photo, video or link of some kind. Great for treasure hunt styled brand competitions that used to use Foursquare e.g. the Jimmy Choo shoe competition a few years back. The app actively encourages new users to get started by posting a bubble or ‘trace’ for their friends to discover. A great way to build the app without being too pushy and also quite fun for kids, whatever the age.
Although not a new thing by any means, I have recently been introduced to this by some of my less techy friends. Being something that combines placing objects in hidden locations, tracking them down and swapping them or contributing in some way for another user to discover again. A simple and by no means new concept, but all the same turning those boring weekend afternoons into a genuinely exciting treasure hunt and again a great way for brands to take advantage of a stable and already quite popular underground trend.
Whatever your preference for digitally interacting with the world around you, make sure you can have fun or reap the benefit of discovering new things.