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Foursquare for iPhone is a location-based app using GPS functionality to pinpoint you and allowing you to check-in at specific venues. You can choose from a list of your favorites or a list of nearby locations. If you don't find what you're looking for, there is a search box to type it in manually. If a venue is not in the system, you have ability to add it yourself, along with the category of venue, address and phone number. Once you have the location, there is the option to add text to the check-in or just "shout" out to your friends. By checking in, the app alerts your foursquare friends to your location and by linking up your Twitter and Facebook accounts, you can decide each time whether to broadcast the information on those platforms as well. You can also decide not to share the information with anyone, in which case you will be shown as "off the grid" but still get credit for checking in. If you check-in the most times at a certain location, you are crowned its Mayor and quite often, this title awards you specials donated by the business itself. It may be a free drink, a free appetizer, or a percentage off services until you relinquish your crown, but there is certainly incentive to users to frequent these establishments. Users can add a "To-Do" list to use privately or add "Tips" to venues that others can read, which will pop up on your screen when you've checked-in nearby.

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Foursquare was developed by Dennis Crowley of New York City who designed the original location-based service Dodgeball, which was purchased by Google and subsequently dismantled. Dennis and his team added an competitive edge to this version introducing a point system and badges earned by checking in to special spots either once or a number of times. For example, you earn a "School Night" Badge for checking in anywhere after 3AM on a weekday or the "Photogenic" Badge by checking in at three different venues that feature photo booths. Each city has their own badges and many are specially designed for network-friendly events such as Austin's SXSW festival. Location-aware services are proving quite popular as social media becomes mainstream. Foursquare has also joined forces with giant companies such as Bravo, Lucky Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and most recently, The History Channel. By following these companies on foursquare, you will find new badges to unlock along with editorial tips on locations.

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Proven to be a big shot in the social networking explosion, Foursquare is following in Twitter and Facebook's footsteps as the demand to connect grows. The free iPhone app is easy to use and navigate with frequent updates from the App Store.


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