Those of us with smartphones (and I’m guessing that’s most of us here) likely know and use Foursquare on a daily basis, checking and following our friends to see where they check in. With mayorships, Foursquare has sort of “gamified” real life, challenging users to get out of the house and become more socially active.
But what you may not be aware of is the scores of mobile apps out there that utilize the Foursquare API. Perhaps more than any other API, Foursquare has been creatively incorporated into apps of all types — photography, games, crowdsourcing, shopping deals and more. How much more? Well grab some popcorn, because here comes a metric ton of fun (and mostly free) Foursquare enabled apps.
Sonar is a social networking app that is meant to put you face to face with networking contacts that might be near you. Fill out your profile and then size up the other users in the room so you know exactly what to say when you finally work up the stones to say “Hello.”
Much like Sonar, Remember Me can help you stay professional with your professional contacts. You met Jerry in Accounting last week at the Hardees during your lunch hour. He told you which football team he was cheering for this week, and also let you know about some layoffs in the warehouse. Past You knew that Future You would forget, so he used Remember Me to inform you of the conversation that slipped your mind.
Foreca.st is an app for planning ahead. By using a kind of pre-emptive check-in, your friend will know where you’re going and when you’re showing up. That way they won’t have to sit at the bar by themselves and entertain that crazy old man while they wait for you to arrive.
Mimble is a neat little app that determines the most efficient place for you and a friend of your choosing to meet. By splitting the difference between your locations, Mimble finds the best path for you and your friend to “meet in the middle.” Get it?
By simply reading the name “Shoudio,” you can probably guess at least the basic functionality of this app. Record soundbytes, see where you recorded them on a map via Foursquare, share with Twitter and Facebook. Sounds like par for the course. What really blew my mind about Shoudio, however, is that the recordings are location bound. Wander around and check Shoudio for nearby recordings and see what people recorded and where. WARNING: potentially creepy.
PigeonMe is a neat take on group messaging and coordination. The premise is that you want to invite some friends to hang out wherever you are, be it a restaurant or your apartment, so you send a carrier pigeon with a message. When they check their phone, they’ll see that they’ve received your pigeon, and will be immediately shown a map with a route to you. Furthermore, as the original pigeon dispatcher, you’ll be able to watch your friends move toward you on the map, planning for just the right moment when they arrive.
Crowdsourcing Data Apps
Localmind is a crowdsourced question database. Link Localmind with Foursquare and checking-in will allow other users to ask you questions about your current venue. Ask or be asked questions like, “Is it crowded?” or “Who is the live band tonight?”
LocalScope is probably my favorite out of the local information breed of apps. LocalScope polls several popular services from social media to search engines, and not only gives you basic information and location of those places on a map (and camera view), but also puts the ability to get in contact with those venues almost instantaneously.
Lost and Found is a unique app that you can consult if you are 1, an avid Foursquare check-inner, and 2, recently lost something. Open Lost and Found and list your lost item as “Lost,” then the app will consult a database of “Found” items to see if yours matches a description. Likewise, if you find something in a public place, be a gentleman (or lady) and post it as found on this app.
Download the free FoursqWAR app to your phone and assume the role of a military tactician. FoursqWAR uses location awareness to make the real world your battleground as you fight other players to gain turf. Compete against others or complete missions to gain achievement points.
Kingpin is essentially just a Foursquare client with a bit of a twist. In the same way that Pirate Speak affects the language on your Facebook page, Kingpin lets you check-in and work your way up to Boss (Mayor), which may not be a title the current owner gives up without a fight.
Mobzombies is a location based game in which your enemies (or saviors) are generated in-game according to human activity around you (via Foursquare). A busy restaurant might cause a zombie horde to attack, whereas another player connected to Foursquare might be able to help.
Capture The Flag is an augmented reality app for the iPhone that isn’t exactly a game itself, but rather facilitates a real life game of capture the flag. Unlike traditional capture the flag, however, each player is tracked via GPS, and flag status and base location are marked on your device before play begins.
Treasure Square is an adventure game that treats your Foursquare check-in locations like dungeons. Each location at which you check-in will contain enemies, traps or an otherwise random event that has the potential to result in some pretty righteous loot. Level up and collect rare items by getting out and visiting real world locations.
SoundTracking is presently one of Foursquare’s featured apps, and has been described as the product of “Twitter and iTunes having a baby.” It’s like setting your iChat to “Current iTunes Song,” except that you can broadcast where you are and what you’re doing.
MusicPlayce puts more of a focus on the fusion between a place and it’s music. Connect with new people and places depending on your musical preference and style. A few extra features, such as the ability to create “music scavenger hunts” make MusicPlayce a really neat app.
Shoplr uses Foursquare to determine your location, and then provides real-time information on nearby deals and offers at local businesses. You can redeem these deals directly from your iPhone. Taking the social step, Shoplr also lets you share a currency called GiveBucks with your friends.
WANT! is technically a photo sharing app that lets you take pictures of things you’d like and share them with you friends and family. I chose to put it in the “Shopping” category for it’s potential use as a sort of public wishlist. Snap a photo of the item you want, and WANT! will make a note of where you found it, via Foursquare. Share that with your friends and they’ll know exactly where to go when your next birthday rolls around.
Can’t decide where to go for dinner? Dine-O-Mat will dig up any information on nearby restaurants and let you know of any places you may not have considered. If you’re still stumped, the app will randomly pick one for you, and then use GPS to show you how to get there.
DoFork takes all of the functionality of Foursquare as far as venue-tips, notes, reviews, etc. and focuses it on food. Share pictures of your food, venue ratings and reviews, and even save your favorites so you don’t forget to check them out later.
Tasterous gamifies food by challenging you and your friends to try new things and earn points. Check-in via Foursquare is built right into the toolbar, and you’ll receive notifications whenever your friends try out some new food. WARNING: Tasterous may make you fat.
Okay, so we might not ALL agree that Beer is food (if you ask me, it is), but where else was I going to mention Pintley? If you’re not familiar, Pintley is a beer recommendation service that will log tasting notes and ratings to, over time, recommend beer that you’re “sure to love.” Take this successful service and stick in a location aware smartphone, and you might want to remember to save the number for a cab.
SnapDish could be considered as much a food app as a photography app. It’s intended use is for taking a snapshot of the dish you were just served in a restaurant, and making note of that restaurant via Foursquare. What makes it unique is a built in image re-toucher that is designed specifically for making images of food look better.
Pixamid’s claim to fame is that it’s a “fun and clever social camera.” Take snapshots with Pixamid and share them with a specific group of people. Your images are geotagged and group submission to a photo album facilitates multi-photographer stories that are sharable through Facebook.
Most of us have used Instagram before, I’m sure. It links with Foursquare to geotag the photos you snap. If you also set Instagram to update Twitter, you can communicate a message, an image of your surroundings, and your location to your followers in one fell swoop.
True to its name, Highlights brings you the best of the best locations around your town to visit by way of crowdsourced check-in data, rankings, photographs, comments, tips and other social network activity. Highlights rakes through Gowalla and Foursquare to pull the most accurate information on the hottest places near you, so you get the best your area has to offer.
As the highest priced app on this list (by far), the aptly named Hg2: A Hedonist’s Guide is an elevated version of other lifestyle apps that provides luxury hangout information in some of the worlds most popular vacation destinations.
Nightbits integrates with Facebook and Twitter in addition to Foursquare to collate and plot the events most likely to interest you into an itinerary of sorts. Schedule your evening so you can hit the pub for dinner with your friends and then go to the party being put on by your favorite Facebook group.
Heat Tracker is a neat app that is designed to give you an idea of the crowd at a particular venue before you go through all the hassle to go there yourself. Suppose the club downtown promised a slammin’ party tonight, but you’re concerned if anyone actually showed up. Check Heat Tracker to find out if you should pass up a potentially lame party.
Most online dating these days is conducted through exclusive pay-to-use sites like eHarmony or Match.com. StreetSpark aims to create serendipity by putting you in contact with like-minded people based on the things you already share online. Mobile StreetSpark uses Foursquare to make it that much more likely that you’ll run into that special someone right out on the street.
One of the only apps on the list that doesn’t take things social, LocaJot lets you save location based notes. Think of Foursquare’s pre-populated venue information, except that you get to write it and edit it and use it later. Perfect for reminders and organization for someone on the go.
CheckIn Pro is a unique app that uses augmented reality to check in. It supports both Foursquare and Facebook places, and will automatically update both networks simultaneously when you select an overlay from the screen. CheckIn Pro also pulls data from both services, so viewing the world through the lens of your iPhone will be all that much richer.
Well I hope our time together today was well spent, and that you learned a little bit about the creative ways developers are using the Foursquare API. What Foursquare apps have you been using?