Groupon has launched an instant, location-based mobile deal offering service called Groupon Now. The service offers various deals throughout the day via a mobile application or on the Web, rather than a single deal delivered to your inbox.
It's similar to the way services like Foursquare or Facebook Places offer discounts and deals, tapping into your device's GPS to peddle coupons in real-time. When you enter your location, Groupon Now lets you choose the type of deal you'd like, whether it's a half-price salsa lesson or a discount on a cheeseburger. Using your existing Groupon account, you can purchase the deal with one click, present a barcode for the vendor to scan, and claim your discount.
Read More | Groupon
Google took aim at Foursquare on Thursday with the addition of checkin rewards for its Latitude app for Google Maps, while replacing 'mayors' with "gurus" and "VIPs".
Google's location class warfare didn't stop there: there are a poor, middle, and elite class under Google's hierarchy, known as "Regulars," "VIPs," and "Gurus," respectively. Users who check in for the first time might not receive any special designation.
Users will need to update to Google Maps 5.2 via the Android Market, join Latitude, then tap "check in here" from the menu. Google said a version for the iPhone would be coming soon.
The new rewards will be rolled out - where else? - at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) show in Austin, Texas this weekend, where discounts will be offered at restaurants, bars, and other venues around the downtown area.
The new checkins scheme provides a sort of game-like approach to rewards, with additional checkins propelling users to new social rankings - and new discounts, to boot. "Footprint" icons let users track their progress. As an example, a restaurant could offer a free drink to a regular, free breadsticks to a VIP, and possibly a free dessert to a "guru".
Google began offering checkins on Latitude in February.
There's a new Foursquare badge, you know those fun little icons you can get for checking into various places and times on Foursquare? But this one focuses on the controversy surrounding TSA's highly public pat-down procedures. If you check-in at a TSA location in an Airport with the terms "TSA", "grope" or "don't touch my junk", you are rewarded this handy badge. The description reads "Looks like you’ve had your baggage handled. Happy Holidays and have a safe flight!" Gotta give it to 'em for being topical.
Read More | About Foursquare
The website of the location app Foursquare was updated today. While the mobile application has seen update after update, the website has remained more or less untouched until now. "We figured it was time to show some love to the website," said the Foursquare team on their blog.
The updated site now places emphasis on social networking. Friend's updates are now displayed in a live timeline that should "make it easier to keep up with your friends, even when your phone is not handy."
One more part of the update is that it is now easier to bring over contacts from other web services such as Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook. These may be simple updates that seem mandatory for other sites, but it shows that Foursquare is finally caring about their web interface in addition to that of their mobile application.
Read More | Foursquare Blog
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