Given the recent concerns in the media regarding personal privacy, services designed to make your private life more transparent and shareable will likely have to work harder than ever to convince new users to willingly give up their data. Foursquare, a company that has been facing this challenge for years, has just unveiled a new tool that could make the process of sharing your private information a bit more fun.
Foursquare Time Machine is a data visualization tool that takes your check-ins and colorfully animates them on an interactive map. Each check-in on the map is represented by a color-coded pulse circle and connected by a line that leads to the next check-in. During the playback of a user's timeline, any one point can be zoomed in on and examined, turning the display from an overhead view to a horizon view, with all your pinpoint check-ins still visible as colorful arches spread across the map.
And while the timeline plays back, a music soundtrack helps make the graphics appear even more adventurous, even if your specific timeline is just a bunch of trips to the local Starbucks and back. One particularly cool feature is a flying saucer graphic that occasionally shows up when you move forward to another city.
All the data presented can also easily be shared with friends, or you can just revel in the attractive infographics and wonder why you keep going to that one deli across town that you say you hate. You can see one user's Time Machine trip in the video below.