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.
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?