Fore.cast : more than another stalking machine

Yesterday I downloaded Forecast and it may be too early to blog about it – but I will anyway.

Forecast is a location-based social media app that describes itself as “a fun and simple way for friends to share where they’re going”.

Which of course is tricky if you don’t know where you’re going.

Fore.cast is in beta

That aside, it has some pros and cons which depend – like most social media – on how you use it. I would recommend you have a good think about its ramifications before you delve in.

When Foursquare emerged, people were concerned about its potential impact on their privacy and it was widely derided as being an aid to stalkers. In the early days of Foursquare, I wrote a blog outlining how it could be used without being creepy. (And of course, if you think you may have stalkers in your life, Foursquare or Forecast would be the last tools you’d sign up for).

Forecast too, would appear to be a little creepy. But first things first …

The Forecast app is elegant and easy to use.

It leverages Foursquare, so life’s a lot easier on Forecast if you’re already a Foursquare user. You can log in with your Foursquare details, quickly add Foursquare friends, and seamlessly send an email invite to others to try Forecast.

Forecast then asks you “Where are you going?” and your most popular Foursquare checkins are thoughtfully laid out in a list for you to choose from. (This is when you’re reminded, again, of what an open book you are).

It then asks “When will you be there?” (okay, starting to get creepier now).

Your friends can be alerted to your planned movements via push notifications. I recommend going to your settings and turning these notifications off, as they can be quite annoying. (If you are in fact a stalker, they are extremely useful).

You can opt out of all alert notifications, and select just a few notifications. For example, you can opt to only be notified or your best friends’ plans.

So how could one best use Forecast?

Here in South Australia, we have a lot of major events including day-long wine festivals that take in different wineries and cellar doors. Forecast would be a great tool here.

Say for example you’re going to a wine festival, you’ve got four or five favourite wineries on your list. You jump into a car with a few friends, but you know there are a lot of other pals at the festival too. You’ve probably scheduled your day, roughly. Your friends probably have too. Forecast can help you share your itinerary and try to catch up.

I could input into Forecast “I’ll be at Petaluma at 10am, Shaw + Smith at 12 noon, Hahndorf Hill at 3pm” and friends who would like to meet me at one of those wineries can pick the one that suits them.

Similarly, Forecast could be used to coordinate with your friends at music festivals, schoolies weekends and sporting events.

Of course, you can simply coordinate with your friends via texting or phone calls. But Forecast has the advantage of being a readily-available list that you can refer back to. You can also add comments to people’s forecasts and of course, there are the notifications that can be pinged to your phone, so friends that change their plans can notify you easily.

Forecast is still in Beta. I don’t think it’s a tool I’ll be using daily, but for special occasions like day trips with lots of socialising, it’ll be a very handy app indeed.

Do you think you’ll be using Forecast?

16 thoughts on “Fore.cast : more than another stalking machine

  1. Nope.

    Wrong platform. 😦

    For it to be as widely used as Foursquare, it needs to be available for Android and Symbian phones as well.

    PS Thanks to everyone who sent me invites.

  2. As someone who has attracted not just one, but TWO stalkers over the course of my life (what can I say? I’m just gifted that way) I’m not going near Foursquare or Forecast. Sorry, Prakky, but FB and twitter are as far as I’m going with the whole share-my-life-with-the-world movement. If people want to know where I am they can already text message me, DM me, message me on FB, email me or just go old-skool and call me. I know my view is dated and old-fashioned and I’ll probably have to change my ways in a few years, but for now that’s my position and I’m holding firm… I’ll live out the cutting-edge technology vicariously through your blog instead! 🙂
    Would love to know if anyone else has the same dilemma as me – wanting to know all the latest ways of social media marketing potential through the latest apps ‘n’ stuff for work, but not wanting to share every detail of their life with the world?

    1. Thanks Laura. Tis indeed a dilemma when you don’t necessarily want to sign up to all platforms (or have the time); but at the same time you’d like to keep abreast of them. Dare I echo you and say, that’s why consultants like me exist? And blogs like these? 😉

    2. @Laura – are you following the #socadl hashtag on Twitter … this sort of stuff usually shows up in that stream fairly “early” in the adoption cycle 🙂

  3. @Prakky – as a matter of interest, did it match the “forecast” to a subsequent 4Sq checkin? (and maybe it should let you know how much you missed your forecast by 🙂 )

    1. Good question. It didn’t seem to, no. No follow up or data matching or ‘result’, if you like. Just a lonely forecast thus far, with some pals like you adding comments.

      Would be a hilarious feature. “You’re late, where have you been?!”

      1. Oh well – a future opportunity for them perhaps? I might use it next time I’m headed to Brunelli, to give you more of a chance to catch me 🙂

      2. OK – just been doing some testing – when you create the forecast, there is an option to check in (and if you look at my Foreca.st and my 4Sq accounts, you’ll see it’s worked – a little earlier than forecast) – so you CAN checkin from Forecast, and see your check-ins (but I didn’t see any of yours, so if you DID checkin it might have been FROM 4sq, and that doesn’t show up in Forecast?). I’ll be checking @malchia’s forecast soon 🙂

        Now – an interesting side effect: if I forecast a visit to somewhere, I can create a 4sq check-in without actually being there (no I’m NOT at @thecoffeebarun at the moment). Interesting possibilities for mayordoms, perhaps?

      3. Interesting Ric – my Prakkypedia correspondent-at-large. If Forecast (I can’t be bothered doing the full top) does automatically check you, and assumes you’ve actually followed through on your plans, that’s good and bad. Good for making it easier for those who want to use Forecast that way and can’t be bothered also checking in via Foursquare, but potentially awkward for those times it automatically checks you in, you’re not in fact there, yet your friends turn up expecting to see you …

      4. It’s not an AUTOMATIC check-in – you still have to do it yourself. But 4Sq might be a bit perturbed that you don’t actually have to BE there to check in 🙂

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