The Mobile Life

I have been using Four Square for the last couple of days. It is a social mobile service that lets you tell the world where you are and what you are doing. It is really like Dodgeball 2.0. Since Dodgeball was a web 2.0 darling, maybe this is Dodgeball 3.0.

Four Square has some of the Social features of Yelp giving you suggestions of where to eat and drink. It is good because other users can suggest things for you to try. I can tell people to try the Meat Lovers Omlete at Bill's Cafe or go see other people's dogs at the San Jose Rose Garden. It is also cool because I get points and badges for doing things. There are rewards for taking part. The rewards are meaningless, but you can make a game out of it.

I think that Four Square is learned a lot of lessons from Dodgeball. Dodgeball was only cool if your friends were using it. If your friends are not using Four Square, it looks like you can get something out of it because of the people who are not your friends.

It makes sense to me that google let Dodgeball die to start Google Latitude, that service more fits Google's culture. I think I like the features of Four Square better. Google Latitude seems to almost be a tracking collar. I can tell Four Square if I am visiting TJ Maxx or not.

I did not sign up for it earlier because I thought it was an iPhone only service because the only thing I read about was their iPhone app. It is not for iPhone only. Any smart phone can access the mobile site. You can also make updates via SMS.

I am not sure where the commercial future of Four Square. It seems like it would need to roll out a lot of features to really be useful on its own. I think it would be a great addition to Yelp, City Search, or Yahoo Local. Linking the review features and the check in features would make a lot of sense to me. Right now I am not sure how a service like Four Square will make money.

Lets see if I am still using it by Labor Day. That is the real test.


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