Foursquare has been busy lately, first with their updated Windows Phone app, and now a new notification system for their Android app. Now you get a little blip in the top-right of the screen letting you know when friends comment on one of your check-ins, Facebook friends join Foursquare, when you’re ousted as mayor, or if there’s activity around your To-Dos. For those without an Android phone, the feature has also been rolled out on their website too. If you can do without the distractions, there are mute options to turn off notifications for a day or an hour. For more granular control, you can toggle notifications for individual activities.
Foursquare is among the most popular social networks for sharing your location. It’s all opt-in, so your location is only shared when you actively check in to a location, and there’s a bevvy of privacy options available if you’re nervous about strangers finding out about where you are. Aside from letting your friends know where you’re getting a burger, what’s the point? Well, you get points for every check-in (which change depending on the last time you were at a location, if you’re going with friends, and lots of other criteria), and those are used to rank you among friends. If you’re a devout regular and check-in every time somewhere in particular, you’ve got a good chance of becoming the mayor, which (aside from bragging rights) can earn you savings and freebies at participating businesses. Some stores will even throw you a discount just for checking in. Foursquare also dishes out virtual badges based on when and how often you check in at particular spots. Event organizers can even commission custom badge rewards for attendees.
Giants like Facebook and Google have been getting involved with the whole check-in business, but I’ve yet to see a lot of serious activity on those social networks. Google Latitude is still great for pinpointing the exact GPS location of your friends, but that’s purely a practical thing. Foursquare has something fun about it, and the only network to come close to matching it on that front is Gowalla. Interested? You can get downloading Foursquare in the Android Market over here.