Top 5 Android Location Check-in Apps
In honor of this years Socail-Loco Conference I have compiled a list of my top five android based location apps.
#1 - SCVNGR
Platform: Android, iOS
The Good: While not the most popular, SCVNGR is perhaps the most full featured and most interactive social check-in app currently available. SCVGNR is a social game where you complete challenges at different locations in order to get points. You can then redeem your points for rewards. The local Sears for example offers 15% off footwear after you earn 3 points. Businesses and users can create new challenges on the fly to keep the game fresh.
The Bad: SCVNGR can be a lot of fun, but often you are playing alone. This app seems to have very low adoption rates thus far, and getting your friends to step outside of the facebook/foursquare box can be challenging at times.
#2 - FourSquare
The Good: Foursquare is far and away the most popular stand alone location app. Its high adoption rate makes it easy to find your friends and interact with people you care about. Like SCVNGR, foursquare also offers some fun and creative ways to make you want to check-in. With well over 100 badges ranging from "newbie" for your first check-in, to "hangover" for those nights where you check-in at a bar after 2 am, and still make it to work before 10am (we've all been there). The Foursquare users who check-in the most can also compete for mayorships at different locations. Many business offer discounts or special deals for their mayors, which is a nice little perk.
The Bad: Most deals and coupons are only offered when you achieve mayorship which can often be very difficult, especially in very popular locations.
#3 - Facebook Places
The Good: Facebook's approach to social check-in is similar to the others mentioned so far except for one caveat: tagging. Facebook has taken the popularity of tagging photos and added it to the check-in function as well. Given Facebook's massive size and built-in user base, its Places feature is growing quickly and you are sure to find lots of your friends already using it.
The Bad: Facebook currently has no deals or coupons tied to its check-in service. Also, there is no stand alone app for facebook places. The only way to access the feature is through your current Facebook app (for Android, iOS, and RIM) or through the mobile web app
#4 - Google Latitude
The Good: Latitude offers deep integration with the Android platform. You can use it as an easy way to check-in or share your location with friends (and or the general public). When you share your location on latitude it will show up in your Gchat, Picasa, and more. Another nice feature is the Latitude Dashboard which will give you a break down of where you spend the most time, how many miles you travel, and a map of your most recent activities.
The Bad: While latitude is great for sharing your location, it is also very invasive. If you want to use this service you should be very comfortable living in public!
#5 - Yelp
The Good: Yelp is a fantastic tool for finding user-generated reviews on everything from restaurants to train stations. Not too long ago they also added a way to check-in to your favorite places. Like foursquare they have a mayor system to honor regular users.
The Bad: Although Yelp has a large user base, its current check-in system is rather underdeveloped. Currently there are no rewards associated with mayorship.