There are many location-based applications available on the App Store today for the iPhone. From FourSquare to Gowalla, you have many choices, unique of each other, to choose from. They are great, but there are many times when I know I have a dinner with some friends that night, but forget to check-in. In another example, you may want to go out to dinner on Friday, but you’re not sure who wants to come. With both situations, Forecast can come in handy. Forecast allows you to check-in ahead of time, perfect for those times when you forget to check in or when you want others to know you have an event coming up.
The Forecast application is built on top of the Foursquare application, so you will find many elements, such as the location page and the color scheme, very similar to Foursquare. To log into a location, simply click the orange “Forecast” button at the center. You can also check out the activity from the individuals you follow by clicking the “Activity” button on the left. The profile button is to the right of the “Forecast” button. The front page automatically shows the forecasts that you make. You can also click the “Check-In” page to show the confirmed Forecasts. The top right button allows you to add a friend or invite someone to Forecast.
How to Begin
To begin, simply click the “Sign in with Foursquare” button. After signing in, you are brought to the homepage. From there, you can check in by clicking Forecast. By clicking Forecast, you are sent to your most commonly checked in location, perfect for places that you frequent most often. If the location isn’t on the page, you can go to where it says “Search places” to find the location you are currently at. Once you find and select the location you want to check into, you can click “I’m Here Now” to check right in.
If you want it to forecast your next checked in location, then use the turn wheel to find the date and time you will be there and click the big orange button to forecast. If you want more information on the location, including a map, click the “i” right next to the location in the list.
Forecast revolves mainly around remembering to check into the location that you are planning on checking into in the future. This means that Forecast doesn’t do this automatically. There are many features in Forecast that help you to remember this, while still being logical in knowing that you may not always be there. Plans change, times move up or behind an hour. Forecast understands this and has a push notification feature that allows you to always remember your plans.
Once your forecast is scheduled, you will receive a notification once your scheduled time has come to remind you to check in. From that page, you can either check in or change the time and date. Another feature related to push notifications is the ability to see when your friends schedule a check in, great for scheduling meet-ups in the future. Once you see their scheduled check-in, you can also mark that you will be going to, like a digital RSVP service.
The great thing about Forecast is that there are many possibilities with Forecast. When you look at it at face value, you can see it as a great way of not forgetting to check into your next location. Especially when I’m out with friends for the night, I may find myself enjoying my time so much, that checking in would be an after thought. However, I really am into Foursquare and building up my points. This application will definitely come in handy allowing me to continue to increase my points.
However, when stretching the idea a bit, we can see Forecast as a great addition to an informal event. Want to celebrate a new business deal or an upcoming celebration? If you have enough friends on Forecast, you can make a forecast and they will be notified by push notifications, almost guaranteeing a response. This takes out having to call each and every one of them, or even having to text. The possibilities of Forecast are endless. The service is free, and with a growing number of people switching to iPhone, you can find yourself with even more options. If you find a great use of Forecast, let us know in the comments.
To conclude, Forecast is the perfect way of planning your check-ins for the future. In addition, as we see, Forecast is a great way to get a group of friends to have a night out in a short period of time. There are many times when i have to text friends to schedule a dinner or an evening out. Could Forecast be a great replacement of this? We must wait and see. The iPhone-only focus at the moment can hinder it’s growth.
In addition, Forecast seems too much like Foursquare to be an app of its own. Foursquare should look into partnering with Forecast and having a “schedule a check-in” feature implemented for the Foursquare application. Sort of like how we saw with the Starbucks application and the dedicated Starbucks mobile payment application. Forecast has the potential, we just need more users.
Forecast (iTunes link)