I Was Called Juan Valdez On FourSquare

It has been quite some time that I had used FourSquare to check-in to some of the local businesses around town. Funny to say that when I checked in today to the Second Cup on Laurier, this is what I got:

I Was Called Juan Valdez On FourSquare

If none of you know who Juan Valdez is, he's a famous nonfictional icon in the world of coffee, mmm! So my frist check-in through the FouqSquare app on my iPhone brought me a badge. For a while, I was using Gowalla, and syncing the check-in from there to FourSquare. I decided that after reading up a bit about some of the new features of FourSquare and how FourSquare can be applied to small businesses, that I'd pay them a visit and see what's new. One notable feature that I noticed is the message pertaining to how far you are away from becoming a mayor of a venue. I guess this is useful for some customers if they visit a business that run specials. I have yet to land a special for a being a mayor or for being a loyal customer and using FourSquare to check-in to their venue. Do you know of any local businesses (small businesses) that have used FourSquare effectively in their campaigns? If you do, I would like to hear your story on it :)

Google Places

Google Places Gets Its Own iPhone App

Yesterday, Search Engine Land notified me that Google Places now has its own iPhone App. Perfect, that's what I needed, another app to add to my full-occupied (4) screens (I should really get rid of some). Many of the location based application I have on my phone include Gowalla, FourSquare, Facebook Places, Google Places, Yelp, and SCVNGR. Why do I have so many? No reason, I just like experimenting with new things :) Do I really need all these apps? Probably not. But it would be useful if those that reward me for check-ins that I'd have a single application that would help me check-in to ALL without having to open and load each one, and then check-in. Here are a couple screen shots as to what the new Google Places iPhone app looks like. 

Google Places Main Screen Google Places Restaurant

As you can see, the main screen is organized into nine different categories. Information about your proximity is located right under the search bar, and above the Rate Now button (which if you click, you can rate the business that is currently displayed, very convenient indeed!). 

If you click on any of those categories, you will find that businesses that are closest to you will be listed first. I guess there is no way of optimizing Google Places listings for mobile is there? If you've claimed, completed your profile 100%, it may encourage people to click through to your Places page more. 

You may also ask, why are there only 9 categories? I believe that they must be the most searched for or the most relevant places people would search for if they were on the road. Would you agree? Should there be another category that Google should add to the Google Places app? 

These pre-defined categories are important for business owners to consider when they've claimed their listings. They must ensure that their business is placed in the proper category, or it may not show up. This may encourage business to claim their listings and complete their profiles to prevent their business from showing up in the wrong category (if that's even possible, or Google does a wrong calculation and places them there). 

The Google Places iPhone app will be a great feature that business owners can leverage to get more reviews in order to increase their brand awareness. You too can help contribute and help those great small businesses grow. Share your thoughts at Google Places.


iPhone and Google Calendar Not Syncing Properly: Fix

One common problem I experienced with the iPhone 4 when I picked mine up about a month ago is the synchronization of events on my iPhone and Google Calendar. If you haven't done so already, Google's written a nice guide on how to sync your iPhone with Google Calendar that you can follow.

There's been many occasions where I've added an event to my iPhone and it shows up 3 hours later on my Google Calendar (any the other way around). I found the extremely bizarre. I would get alerts, if I set them for the event, hours later (it also displayed PST, which is clearly not the time zone I'm in. I'm in EST!) So I decided to see what other's have said about this. I tweeted it about, asked friends, but I couldn't figure out what caused this problem.

In the end, there is a very simple fix to it. Follow these steps and hopefully it will solve this problem on your phone:

1. Settings
2. Mail, Contacts, Calendars
3. Scroll down to the bottom and change the Time Zone Support to your designated city.

iPhone calendar settings time zone iPhone alert screen iPhone time and date settings

Simple eh? The whole time, I was looking in Settings > General > Data & Time > Time Zone.   

It may be best to set this to your designated city too. This time zone option, if I'm correct, is the setting for the phone. The time zone setting under Mail, Contacts, and Calendars is for those applications. They all must be in sync in order for Google Calendar to recognize that yes, we are in the EST time zone.

I hope this helps fix your calendar problem on your iPhone. If this didn't solve the problem, leave a comment below and I, or other readers, will try and give you other options to go abouts fixing it.