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This article was published on October 5, 2010

Top 7 Location-Based Apps to Use When Foursquare is Down

Top 7 Location-Based Apps to Use When Foursquare is Down
Lydia Leavitt
Story by

Lydia Leavitt

Lydia is a NYC-based closet nerd. A contributer to multiple major tech sites, she mostly sounds off mostly on social media, gadgets, and tre Lydia is a NYC-based closet nerd. A contributer to multiple major tech sites, she mostly sounds off mostly on social media, gadgets, and trends culture and design. Find her on Twitter with @lydialeavitt.

Foursquare withdrawal
[fawr-skwair, with-draw-uhl]–noun
1. The inability to check-in on foursquare for 10 plus hours, often associated with sweating and fidgeting, topped off by excessive tweeting about the agony you’re experiencing.

If you, or someone you know has experienced this yesterday when foursquare was down, we can help. We started wondering: is there life beyond foursquare? What other types of location-based check in services exist besides the world of foursquare? Well, for those of you who never want to experience this withdrawal again, I offer you the top 7 location-based services to use when foursquare is down.

7. a different spin on the location-based check-in, puts an emphasis on photo sharing with a geolocation tag. Basically, the photo acts as your check-in to a particular location. Once you take a photo, you must attach the photo to a place on the map, where you can see everyone in that same location and the photos they’ve taken. If you want to attach the photo to an event rather than a place, the app will pull a list of events from your Facebook events tab, so you can share photos with organizers of the  event. The tagged pictures are sent to everyone in your network, or you can share with Twitter/Facebook. Although still in early development, the idea of “social photography” certainly is a promising one.

Platforms: iPhone, Android

6. Loopt: this is a truly location-based system that doesn’t rely solely on check-ins, but rather shows your exact location on a map relative to your friends’ locations and what’s in your area like restaurants or parks. The system pulls information from the closest cellular towers to triangulate your position and the relative distance from your friends that also show up on the map. Although this sounds like a privacy nightmare, the system is completely permission based so you can go off the grid, or hide your location from specific friends. Added features include real-time messaging, photo posting, and likes/tags/search filters that connect you with the real world and provide you information about your surroundings. The system also features a check-in option that lets you share your location with Twitter and Facebook.

Platforms: iPhone, Blackberry, Android, iPad

5. brightkite: the original location-based check-in service, this social network is now taking the emphasis off publicly checking in and sharing a location, and switching to location-based text messages that you can send to a select group of friends. This is a good option for someone who is worried about publicly sharing their location and who would like to have more control of the people they’re sharing with. Since you can share with multiple people, it’s a good way to let your friends now that you just arrived to a certain place and that they should join without having to pay to send them a text message.

Platforms: iPhone, Android, Nokia, Blackberry

4. BlockChalk: kind of like leaving an anonymous note for the guy who scratched your car while it was parked, BlockChalk lets you anonymously share messages with people in your neighborhood. You can ask, answer, praise, gripe, report, prevent, borrow, or trade information with people within your neighborhood within one, two or three blocks. Or you can choose to comment on or send a message to a specific neighbor. The app is pretty cool for people who would like to stay anonymous, yet are still into the location based sharing applications.

Platforms: iPhone

3. Rally Up: designed as a social network relegated only to real friends, this networks puts a strong emphasis on privacy. Rally Up allows you to alert your friends that you’re on your way to a specific location or that you’ve arrived. The people you’ve designated as “real friends” will get push notifications letting you know that you’ve arrived or that you’re on your way, whereas “feed freinds,” will just see you location data within their feed. You can also choose to be a lurker where you can see a friend’s content but they can’t see yours (think of it like foursquare’s “off the grid” function) of you can even “mute” a person that you’ve accepted because you felt obligated to, but you really don’t want them to see your location. The app also lets you cross post to Facebook and send group messages with location data much like texting without the cost. There’s even rad stamps and a leader board to see the coolest places you’ve checked into and the people who check in the most.

Platforms: iPhone, iPad

2. whrrl: is a map based system that lets you look around your area and find people or places in your general area. What’s cool is with whrrl you can search for a specific place in your area, like “happy hour” or “restaurant.” Once you check into a certain place, you can choose to share your check-in information with all friends, trusted friends, or public places like on Facebook or Twitter. The cool thing about whrrl is that it lets you build a story around a specific place or event by adding pictures and notes. You can join societies based on your interests and even gain social influence within these societies as you become more and more social. You can also gain real world perks like with foursquare.

Platforms: iPhone, Blackberry,

1. Gowalla: probably the system closest to foursquare, Gowalla uses “passport stamps” that a user collects as he or she checks-in to various places. Once you check-in, you can share your location on Facebook or Twitter, making the system comparable to foursquare but with added features like photo integration and the ability to comment on your friends’ locations. The other cool feature that Gowalla has is the “trips” feature where people or organizations like National Geographic, USA Today, CNN Money, create trips that guide you through various spots with recommendations on where to check-in. The downside to Gowalla is the fact that fewer people are using the system and fewer companies are offering real-life perks when compared to foursquare. Also, the system uses your exact GPS location so you can’t cheat the system like you can in foursquare, but you also can’t search for a spot so you may not always be able to check into the place where you actually are.

Platforms: Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Palm webOS

Clearly there are location-based applications for almost everyone out there, whether you’re concerned with privacy or you want to broadcast your location of photos to the world.

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