Check-ins appear to be facing a long slog before mainstream adoption, if recent figures from Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project are an indication. While some 28% of American adults use mobile and social location-based services, only 4% specifically use check-in services like Foursquare and Gowalla. The check-in story is not over yet, however, as these providers push out new services and approaches that add value to consumers' smartphone use.
Each of the main players in this space are approaching the question of value add in different ways, GigaOm points out. Foursquare is emphasizing recommendations and starting last month, event check-ins and lists. Loopt, for its part, is focusing on a question and answers feature.
Other platform providers are enhancing their offerings with check-in functionality, as well. Earlier this year, Facebook began testing a check-in button for event pages accessed by iPhone users. Ditto for Google, with its Latitude feature.
It is up to companies to take these services and tailor them with even more specific offerings, though. Building a service around the check in is one example. For instance, a mobile information service on local business listings could also give the consumer a discount if she checks in. Integration with social media is also a viable strategy, such as following friends’ check-ins to see any reviews they may have written about a business service or product.