Foursquare have updated both their iOS and Android apps and the big new feature is that it will now allow you to check into a location and also check in your friends at the same time. Your friend will have to give their consent to allow you to check them in. If you are not aware of Foursquare it is a social network that allows you to “checkin” at a location, telling your friends that you are there and allows you to say what you are doing as well as leave tips about the location that other Foursquare users can view.
To check in your friends you need the latest version of Foursquare. When you check in at a location you will notice that there is now a button in the bottom left that says “I’m with”. Click on this and you are given a list of your Foursquare friends. You tap on a name and they will be checked in with you as long as they have given you consent to do so.
The way a friend gives you consent is when you first try to check them in they are sent a notification to say that you are trying to check them in and to ask if they agree to allow you to do this. It is worth pointing out that the consent is not just for this one check in but will allow you to check them in at other locations in the future.
The aim is to help you and your friends all using your smartphones when you are out together so that you can concentrate on doing what you are out for rather than all be glaring at your phones. If your friend has checked in at the location before you and you then check all of you in then once the friend has given their consent only your update will show. This will be useful when four or more of you are all out together and your other friends see just one check in with all of you in it rather four individual updates.
I think that it might also be useful to help Foursquare gain more active users. If you are out for dinner with your best friend and one is active on Foursquare while the other is a registered user but rarely checks in anywhere then there will be a checkin that shows to both parties friends. As most people who are on Foursquare have their accounts connected to either Facebook or Twitter, or both, then it will spread the Foursquare message to an even wider audience and may encourage others to join in.
It is definitely a useful feature for Foursquare to introduce and it is certain to prove popular with users. I initially thought that there might be issues regarding the permanent consent to check in another person but having thought a little about this I think that if you are not happy with your friends to be able to check you in at a location then perhaps you should reconsider the friendship in the first place.