Check-ins are a hack.

Now that the f8 keynote has passed, everyone is wondering why Facebook didn’t launch a check-in feature. The reality is that check-ins are just a hack — a workaround for the fact that smart phones are still pretty dumb when it comes to location — at least in terms of the features that App developers can freely use. Smarter devices, near-field communication (NFC), better applications and more savvy advertisers are going to revolutionize how we go about our daily business. Mike Melanson at ReadWriteWeb just nailed it:

This sort of technology would be a different take on location-based checkin systems, wherein the user has the onus of owning the proper technology. Giving users RFID chips and having the venues bear the burden of expensive technology (in the form of RFID readers in this case) – as long as the incentive to purchase this technology is there – approaches location-based services from the opposite direction and could potentially bring location to a large number of users.

Steve Chaney also runs through the limitations of current devices, and what it will take for products to succeed in this space.

Facebook realizes that they don’t need a check-in feature – what they need is reliable, in-store location detection. And they now have the heft to push device vendors, carriers, app developers and retailers into rolling this out.

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