Fourquare Beta

Who doesn't love to be rewarded for the doing the simplest things? Whether you've won an eating contest or a drinking game, earning some kind of recognition, badge or t-shirt always feels good. Foursquare does just that, for those of you familiar with the social networking service. All you have to do is be at some place, check in and let your friends know where you are and you earn points and badges. While Foursquare has had an application available for iPhone and Android for some time, it has recently become officially available for BlackBerry 8000 and 9000 series devices and I'm here to take an in-depth look at what it has to offer.

Fourquare Beta

What Foursquare is All About

The idea behind Foursquare is like that of other location-based social networking services: you let people know where you are, you can discover new places and hopefully make new friends in the process. Along the way, you earn points and unlock badges to let everyone know how adventurous or bored or boring you are. If you check into the same place enough, you just might be crowned mayor of the joint.

Fourquare Beta

Features, Navigation & More

When you first click on the Foursquare icon, an image of a guy doing a behind-the-back foursquare pass shows up with the status above - it starts by checking your connection and then it logs you in or takes you to the login screen. After entering your login information, the first screen you're taken to is a list of yours and your friends' check-ins throughout the week. Like other Foursquare apps, it shows your friend's name, where they checked in and when. If they added any notes, shout-outs or badges are unlocked, those are shown, too. From this screen, you have the option to check in or shout. The layout is pretty clean and streamlined - very intuitive.

Fourquare Beta

On the upper-right corner, there are three icons for Friends, Places and More. The default screen you start with is Friends, as mentioned above. The second icon is for Places and clicking on that will generate a list of places nearby you by using your phone's built-in GPS. If you don't see your spot on the list, you can scroll all the way to the bottom and click on "Not in list?" and add the location, information and address. Once you finally choose your location, you can check in, send that info to Twitter, or view the mayor, nearby tweets, the location's Yelp listing and view/add tips about the place. Are the martinis good? Should you stay away from the tuna tartare? You can add that information there.

The third option after Friends and Places is More. From there, you can view Foursquare's information and an email address for reporting bugs or making suggestions. On More, you can also view the leaderboard amongst you and your friends, although clicking on it will take you to the BlackBerry browser instead of opening it within the app - a minor inconvenience. Lastly, you can also change your notification settings here and choose between on, off or goodnight.

Still A Baby With Room For Growth

Because it's in beta right now, it's a pretty bare-bones application but it does almost everything you need to do in Foursquare. The layout is very simple and intuitive: if you've just signed up for Foursquare and are using the app for the very first time, you'd have absolutely no issues navigating around the app and learning what the social networking service is all about. And after you're done bragging to your friends that you've just checked into the most exclusive club in your 'hood, you can log out, exit the app, or leave it running in the background to get notifications of friend check-ins.

I've been using Foursquare since last summer and if I could rate this application on a scale from 1 to 5, I'd give it a 4 based on its intuitiveness and design. It gets the job done and it's very clean. I do wish it had things like icons by your friends' names, but I'm sure the little details will come as subsequent versions do. If you're a Foursquare user and you have a compatible BlackBerry, there is absolutely no reason to skip downloading this app!