Friday, July 6, 2012
MapQuest, Google, and Ashton Kutcher's Foursquare.com
This off-publishing topic interests me because I've never really needed GPS or any kind of map service to get me from point A to point B. I even posted about it here before once in one of my WTF posts. My mom and dad live by Onstar; I have friends who never leave the house without using some kind of GPS.
I've never really needed it. But I do like to keep up just in case I do need something one day. This article from Cnet talks about MapQuest and free voice prompts for route guidance.
In the online maps space, Google may draw more attention, but MapQuest, online years earlier, has continued to improve its service. And among iPhone apps, MapQuest can boast a crucial feature over Google Maps, free turn-by-turn navigation with voice prompts.
What I've really started to use in the past year is Foursquare.com. A friend got me into it as a social network and I've been using it to build points, get discounts at restaurants, and even build a photo album.
This past July 4th Tony and I had to drive to North Jersey to visit friends. On the way home we took back roads to avoid traffic on Route 80 and wound up lost in a part of New Jersey neither of us knew. So I started tracking where we were on foursquare and loved it. Whenever I checked into a place, our destination showed up on the foursquare map with a blue pin and it lead us right out of New Jersey, into PA, and onto roads with which we were familiar.
When I signed on to foursquare last year I didn't think I'd be using it as anything other than a different type of social media. But the more I do use it the more I find I like it better than other GPS systems. And, while I'm using it, I'm getting points in addition.
The only problem I've had with foursquare so far is that I can't remove some people from my friend list no matter how hard I try. Two guys from different parts of the country either closed their accounts or dropped off and they left these horrible photos that I have to look at every time I check in. One is a photo of an empty dinner plate, with remnants of what the guy had for dinner that look like little green boogers. The other is this creepy guy in bed holding a teddy bear. Both are creepy big time; both I would love to remove. And I can't figure out a way to do that.
Through foursquare I'm also able to keep up with good friends in Palm Springs I used to see all the time. And I enjoy that. I miss them and I like being connected to them. It's a comforting feeling. I also like seeing some of my other social media friends, like Mary G., down in Louisiana, and Ryan M. right here in New Hope. It's a great example of how small the world really is.
Though it didn't influence me to join foursquare, I also hear that Ashton Kutcher is an investor.
If you are so inclinded to join foursquare you can follow me @Ryan Field. If you're a FB friend, you can check out my check-ins on foursquare because I'm linked. I can't promise the most interesting check-ins (at least not as interesting as Ashton Kutcher's, I'm sure...but you never know.