Astronaut checks in with Foursquare from space

Astronaut uses Foursquare to check in from spaceWith over four million users, Foursquare is becoming quite popular and we’re seeing people check in from all sorts of places. I don’t think anyone was expected to see a check in from space though and that’s exactly what an astronaut did.

Douglas Wheelock used the location-based service to check in from the International Space Station today and he received a NASA Explorer badge for his efforts. It’s neat to see this type of location-based service gain traction even off the Earth.

The move is a neat PR boost for Foursquare but there’s definitely something to the check-in movement. I was at game 4 of the Giants-Phillies baseball playoffs and one of my companions said, “You haven’t really gone somewhere unless you check in on Foursquare.”

I don’t quite buy that but it does show that check-in services and LBS are hitting the mainstream. Foursquare is the undisputed leader in this category but there are a ton of challengers to the crown.

SCVNGR just updated its iPhone and Android apps and it offers check-in services with more of a gaming element. I’ve been impressed with the company’s ability to score deals with companies to offer real-life rewards like restaurant discounts and season tickets to the Boston Celtics.

Yelp has also seen some success with its check-in service for restaurants and this is the one type of LBS service that I will routinely use.

I do think the big player in this market will eventually be Facebook with its Facebook Places offering. While this is still a bare-bones offering, it has the weight of the world’s largest social network behind it.

It’s not a zero sum game though, as Foursquare said it had a huge amount of signups after it announced it would integrate with Facebook Places. All of the other major check-in services will try and leverage this service, too.

[Via Foursquare]

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