Checking-In (part 1): What we’re looking for in our apps


There’s been a lot of buzz lately about FourSquare, Facebook Places, Google latitude and other check-in applications; however, a recent report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project showed that only 4% of online adults use location-based services. This causes us to wonder who is using these applications, what they are using and how they are choosing which applications to use.

In a recent study by uTest, which surveyed 300 participant in 35 countries, researchers challanged participants to compare BrightKite, FourSquare and Gowalla. These first generation check-in apps have the same basic purposes, and the study allowed users to compare the three services across several important factors.

The results showed that overall, FourSquare is still king of the check-in, followed closely by Gowalla. The study also looked at which of these areas that users found most important when choosing which applications they would use. This can help application developers know what decisions to make about constructing applications to best suit their audience.

The need for ease-of-use was definitely the most important to geolocation application users. This is where Facebook rises to the top of the ladder. They are ranked the highest on ease-of-use which is the most important to application users, which gives them the edge over Gowalla and BrightKite. As geolocation applications undergo changes and begin to incorporate augmented reality and other technologies, it will be interesting to see if ease-of-use still stays at the top of the needs hierarchy.

To find out more about geolocation applications, check out the cool links I found by scanning the QR code below.