Back in March, I wrote about the problem of check-in fatigue. That is, with so many location-based check-in services now out there, it's exhausting to open each one every time to check-in to the same place across multiple networks. The solution, for now at least, is Check.in. And it's ready to open to everyone tonight.
Check.in is an HTML5 web app made by Brightkite that allows you to check-in to a venue on multiple location-based services. Those services including Foursquare, Gowalla, and of course, Brightkite. This works by taking advantage of those services' APIs alongside some backend place matching that Brightkite does on its end. The result is being able to check-in across multiple services in a few seconds rather than taking a few minutes to load up the various apps and hit the required buttons on each to check-in.
Since Check.in went live in closed beta in March, over 6,000 users have tried it out, generating some 135,000 check-ins, I'm told. The average user checked-in 20 times, and there were over 2 million place queries in the beta period.
That last statistic speaks to why we need some sort of unified Places database (this app just does place matching, not unification). Brightkite had indicated they'd be willing to do something like that, but the problem is the other companies who are all saying the right things now - but may not be so quick to hand over their databases with the places they've collected. It's also an extremely hard problem to solve since not all the data is perfectly aligned (misspellings, slightly off GPS, etc).
The point is, even if everyone seems to say they want it, it's not happening anytime soon. And so we have Check.in.
Since the closed beta began, Brightkite has also added two new services to the check-in roster: Whrrl and TriOut. Each of these is still experimental alongside Gowalla, which is currently on Check.in thanks to an API work-around (Gowalla has a read-only API at the moment).
Some other data that Brightkite saw during the beta trial was that people check-in most often on Friday, and least often on Sunday. And most users opt to use two of the check-in services, followed by those who choose to use three. Four and five were much less popular (though Whrrl and TriOut weren't available the entire time), and one was somewhat popular - though I'm not sure what the point of using check.in is if you're only going to use it with one service.
Since it's HTML5, Check.in will work with iPhones, Android phones, and yes, the iPad. Just point your web browser here to find it.