The Mobile Check-In: Valuable, But Presently Dysfunctional

The check-in is soon to be a valuable part of the smartphone user experience. But it isn’t yet, a writer at TechCrunch asserts.

“Given the proper scenario, check-in works and is important,” says TC’s John Biggs. “What frustrates me most, however, is that we keep doing it wrong.”

The conflict lies in the balance between ease of use and privacy. On one side of the spectrum are apps like Foursquare, which requires that you take out your phone, open the app, click the button, and possibly connect to social networks. On the other side is Apple’s FindMyFriends, Biggs writes, which lets you share location data with friends without doing anything. “Check-in becomes valuable when we don’t notice it,” Biggs says, “but invisible check-in requires deep hooks into the mobile device’s operating system.” See: Apple’s FindMyFriends, available exclusively on iPhone.

The check-in will likely be an important part of mobile commerce someday — as soon as app developers find the happiest median between those two forces. Perhaps Square, with the latest update to its Card Case/Pay with Square app, will help move the field forward soon.

Click to comment