I managed to get out for a night out this weekend and whilst doing so thought it would be a good opportunity to test out Foursquare’s new offering, the Checkmate app. I had done some reading on the auto checking app prior on the Mashable site and knew at some point, someone would come up with the idea but I was skeptical it would/could work accurately. Not to be too cynical I bought in and thought why not?. It works on the basis of once set, automatically checks the user into a venue without their intervention (actually checks in at 50 metres currently). My first thoughts were it would undoubtedly ping ‘false positives’, or simply, nothing at all. It works using the phones inbuilt GPS. The application works on iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 and eventually will add support for other checkin services.
I started by downloading the app at the AppStore (costing the princely sum of £1.19). It shows you all your current Foursquare checkin destinations (after you sign in with your Foursquare details) and allows you to add the ones you want the app, when on, to check you into automatically. You simply choose, save and switch on (like the image portrays). I chose the ones I knew I’d use for the night and after saving them, set the app running in the background whilst I waited for transport, nowhere near any of my checkins for a true test. In addition you have the same option with Checkmate as you do with Foursquare, the ability to share your destination with your Twitter & Facebook friends, inclusive of shouts (‘status updates’ for both, of the destination).
I’d only just got out of a cab in town to hear a ping and see a notification message – My first check in!. Ok, I wasn’t at the bar but come to mention it I wasn’t even near the door – I was on the street though!. I was a good 50 yards from said destination, so straight away it was a thumbs down. I mean I know it’s impossible to get it 100% accurate but it usually checks in at 50 metres which is some distance, especially if there are a number of your checkins nearby or on the same street. That was a huge catchment area and if it wasn’t maybe it’d have faired better. After all you could be just driving past on a weekday, sat at the lights on the way home from work to get checked it at the local bar. Totally inaccurate!. The good thing is, it will only check you into a venue once, inside 12 hours, so there’s no need to worry about multiple checkins for the same venue, say in the same night. Later in the night, I visited two more of my saved venues and.. well nothing!. I was right after all. After that I lost interest and will now just stick to manual checkins through Foursquare. It’s just better for me plus I’ll have more control over what information I decide to share with people. Battery usage also I found an issue as the app constantly runs in the background as you would expect. This led to some battering of my full battery.
Future Checkin is on the way though which differs by letting you adjust the GPS settings for more accurate or more battery-friendly automatic checkins. Both applications warn that by running location in the background, you risk draining your phone’s battery!.
Just my opinion – doesn’t work for me due to:
A nice concept but sadly no, it falls short of the mark!. Too many false positives and some destinations not checked into at all.
I like my battery too much to waste it on something about as much use as a chocolate fireguard.