A newcomer to the crowded ranks of the capital's social media arrives this week: after establishing themselves in a number of large American cities, Foursquare launches in London today.
A "location-based social networking site wrapped in a social-gaming paper", Foursquare allows users to 'check-in' at various points around the city using a mobile device, updating friends and contacts of their whereabouts, and slowly build up points and 'badges'. At its essence, it allows you to build up a real-time itinerary, listing all the places you've been across town, and share that information with friends. Wondering if that gallery opening is worth going to? You can use Foursquare to see if any of your mates have been, and get the low-down from them.
It's being touted as a city guide, social networking tool and store loyalty system combined. Whether users want such a service is another matter, and in the wrong hands Foursquare's location-based USP sounds like the perfect tool for would-be stalkers; still, it's generating significant buzz (including a reference in a recent Simpsons episode) and the launch in London (Twitter capital of the world, let's not forget), could see it push on toward that ever-elusive tipping point. Or perhaps it'll just go the way of all social networks (hello, Friendster!).