Foursquare Time Machine: check in and check it out

Foursquare Time Machine map

Foursquare. Do you use the app? If yes, then you might like to go and have a look at the new Foursquare Time Machine. You can access it by visiting the Foursquare Time Machine link via a desktop (not mobile!) browser, and logging in.

Once you’ve logged in, the click the ‘Fetch My History’ button, and watch as the Time Machine maps all your checkins, from first to last. Stats are kept on the fly – types of checkins you’ve visited most, percentages for the days of the week you’ve checked in, and so on. At the end of the process a personal infographic is created for you, to download or share on social media.

It’s a nice infoographic, but is annoyingly US-centric. There’s the US spelling, yes, which is no big deal, but in the spot on the graphic where it displays travel stats is a map of the US. I’ve never checked in at a location in the US, more particularly Texas, which the graphic displays as a default for the non-US Foursquare user.

It’s fascinating to watch as your checkins are aggregated and displayed on a map. If you’ve taken a trip the distance is displayed, and as the software “thinks” before it maps your checkins at your travel destination the distance between point A and point B is displayed.

If you’re not a Foursquare user you can still watch the Foursquare Time Machine work its magic. On the page, just click the ‘Play Demo’ link that is located right underneath the ‘Login to begin’ button.

Foursquare launched in a limited way in 2009, and opened up to more users and locations in early 2010. It has for the most part in Australia been something of an ego app – for the most part it was used to accumulate points, badges and mayorships. We don’t have the participation and user base that the US has, so we don’t often stand to benefit from stores and businesses offering specials for Foursquare users. In the over three years I’ve been using the app I’ve obtained a few free ciders, that’s all.

But the app became a little more useful midway through 2012, with more emphasis on exploring your immediate vicinity to find places to eat, drink, visit, etc. It was certainly a big help to me in my recent 7-month stint in Melbourne.

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