Is Foursquare Ditching the Check In?

One of the key components of geolocation app Foursquare is the check in process. Users of Foursquare can visit almost any venue in the US — and even some places that aren’t venues — and check in to not only share their location with friends who use social media but also to get points for checking in. Check in enough times at a single venue, and you might earn the mayorship, which can often present discounts and bonuses. Foursquare users not only compete for glory of being mayor at several venues around town, but points to dominate the leaderboard, which details points from all of your Foursquare friends. Until now, the check in process on Foursquare has facilitated much of the game mechanics that entice social media users to use Foursquare, too.

But could Foursquare be ditching the check in? Coinciding with the release of iOS 5, Foursquare updated its app with a few feature called Radar. At the Web 2.0 Summit, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley said the company is now shifting the focus to the recommendation engine, merchant tools, and the Radar feature. According to CNET, Crowley said it’s been challenging for Foursquare to turn “curious users into active users,” but since Radar is more passive than the active nature of checking in, the new feature could make it happen.

This is not to say the game mechanics, presumably including acquiring points, badges, and mayorships, won’t disappear with the check ins. Crowley said that he’s “a big believer in using game mechanics to push people to do things in real life.” One can hope that this means Foursquare will only become easier to use — and easier to obtain those mayorships and badges.

What do you think about Foursquare ditching the check in in lieu of Radar? Do you like the new Radar feature of Foursquare? Let us know what you think in the comments.