Wishlist: How FarmVille can take full advantage of the iPhone

Zynga's newly released iPhone version of FarmVille is a passable if flawed miniaturization of its popular PC cousin. But the move to Apple's popular mobile phone brings with it the opportunity to add some rather unique new gameplay to the familiar farming experience. Here are just a few ideas for how Zynga can take full advantage of the iPhone hardware to make a better (or at least a fresher) overall game.

Geo-location: Visiting your virtual neighbors in FarmVille is all well and good, but sometimes you want to see what's going on with your actual neighbors. With the iPhone's built-in GPS (and IP-based geo-location for iPod users), this should be easy enough to implement. Simply let players opt-in to share their locations, then let them visit other farms are being shared in a set radius (anywhere from a few feet to a few hundred miles should be available). In addition to helping people discover new FarmVille freaks in their area, this feature could also let businesses and attractions set up virtual farms that are only accessible by visiting their real-world locations.

Text message harvesting: The iPhone version of FarmVille finally brings push notification of harvesting times, a great boon for on-the-go farmers that can't keep track of their schedules. As it stands now, though, iPhone players still have to load up the game and go through the onerous process of tapping all of their crops -- a process that can take entire minutes. Who has that kind of time? This is the new millennium! Why not let people harvest all their crops with a simple text message to Zynga.

Yes, this feature would actively encourage people to neglect spending time in the game, but so do time-saving features like tractors and unwithers, and people pay good virtual money (and sometimes real money) for those features. I can just see the ads now: "Text 'harvest' to 01223 and get those pesky crops out of the ground. Texts cost 2 FV cash for the first and 1 FV cash for each additional harvest per week, plus your telephone provider's fees. Text NOW!