Foursquare adds 'Always On' option to track friends
A new feature added to Foursquare Tuesday allows you to track what your friends are doing and where. Called “Always On,” the setting sends you an alert each time your friend checks in on the service.
To be clear, these alerts are not location-based. That means you’ll receive an alert no matter whether that friend is a few miles away or on the other side of the planet. Regardless, it provides a way to track your closest friends (or significant others, too) at all times.
Foursquare already has check-in alerts like Facebook provides through its mobile app; this new “Always On” option is in addition to the location-based alerts that are already available.
The option to activate either type of check in notifications is located in the app’s settings on your phone, but the setting to choose whether those notifications are for nearby or all check-ins is located on the friend’s profile on the Foursquare website.
Could there be some privacy concerns? Yes, but the way the service works is not changing. Only friends can subscribe to these alerts, and you still have the right to adjust how your check-ins are shared.
At the same time, it appears Foursquare is providing no way to prevent people from getting those alerts. This is likely to be the biggest concern for the privacy-conscious. Imagine the paranoid spouse, using these alerts to keep track of a husband's or wife’s every move. Or maybe a friend has suddenly become your stalker–and knows where you are all the time.
Obviously, if you’re that concerned over sharing your location, maybe being on a site like Foursquare is not a good idea. At the same time, we should have a bit more control over how our data is shared, especially if people can now track our every move.