Foursquare today updated its Android and iOS apps with a very interesting feature addition: the ability to check-in your friends. You can download the new apps now directly from Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

Up until now, Foursquare let you mention your friends, but not actually check them in (though a third-party app did offer the functionality). Apparently the company has decided that it’s time to bridge that gap.

The app’s changelog hints how the feature works:

Less tapping, more exploring! Save time while you’re out with friends with the new option to check them in (only with their permission, of course!).

Here are the full instructions:

  • When you check in, you can tap “I’m with…” to add people you’re with. Choose your friends from the list.
  • Your friends will then get a notification asking for permission to let you check them in.
  • If they say yes, they’ll get checked in (and you’ll be able to check them in in the future; one approval and the feature is good to go). If they don’t want to be checked in, Foursquare will just “mention” them as usual.

foursquare checkin friends 730x179 Foursquare for Android and iOS now lets you check in your friends, but only with their permission

The permission part is key here: you may be able to check-in your friends now, but they still have to go into Foursquare and approve your request. This is a small change, but it does have a lot of potential.

If you have to launch the Foursquare app anyway, you might be wondering what the whole point of all this is. First of all, tapping once to approve a check-in is a lot less hassle than the whole process of a normal check-in.

Yet there is more at stake here. Foursquare is essentially increasing the chances of more people checking-in, which is still the biggest obstacle for people using its app. This feature should be particularly useful for big groups, as one person can do the majority of the “work.”

As such, this is actually a brilliant play on Foursquare’s part. It’s easy to see how this change could significantly boost the number of check-ins the service sees, and also pave the way for another future feature that would automatically approve check-in requests from (some of?) your friends.

See also – Foursquare reportedly keen to sell advertisers check-in data for targeted ads on other platforms and Foursquare adds location filters by price, hours, and friend check-ins to its website and apps

Top Image Credit: Andrew Beierle

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