I got a message from Foursquare this evening saying that they will be launching in London soon. That's news to me, and I think it will shake up the local web sphere a little. The next big thing? Who knows, but all the early adopters who helped Twitter grow when it was young are all over it, and the Foursquare system is showing a lot of Twitteresque signs in these early days.
Up until now Foursquare has been a US-centric community. I've been a dormant user of it for a few months now, but I've been largely locked out because the service is set up in a way that you have to be in a registered city to use it.
Foursquare is a new social networking application that has been getting the early adopters spending a little time away from Twitter of late. It mixes microblogging (like Twitter), location-based check-ins (like Dopplr) and adds a layer of game theory, like unlocking prizes an badges for certain achievements. It works online, on your mobile and it has a slick iPhone app.
The founder of Foursquare describes it as a system that learns as it grows, and because it's city-based, it really does become a valuable community. Have a look at this interview he did with Edelman's Steve Rubel recently.
The city-based element to Foursquare is really important. It makes the system very rich, but excludes those not in a city where Foursquare works. That's why I've been a dormant user so far. At the moment Foursquare works in 21 cities, 20 of which are in the US. I only learnt this evening that the one European city on Foursquare, Amsterdam, was a test in preparation for launching in London. I'm now looking forward to trying it our properly when it launches.