Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Foursquare Thursday – Apps

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This is the ninth post in a series about Foursquare – read part one, part two, part three, part four, part five. part six, part seven and part eight.
Yet another reason why Foursquare is awesome is its open API, which allows other applications and services to interact with it. In fact, Foursquare has an App Gallery with over 100 applications listed that use its API.

I won’t feature all 100+ here today, but I will link to some of the useful or interesting apps that you can use to check-in to Foursquare in different ways.

  • Footfeed is a multi-checkin app that works with Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places and Google Latitude, allowing you to check-in once and have your check-in pushed to all four services. Unlike Gowalla’s own mobile app, which does offer Foursquare checkins (but has difficulty matching with Foursquare venues), this does proper matching and lets you manually select a venue if the match is incorrect. It’ll also show you the result of your checkin – whether it made you the mayor, and how many points you obtained. The app is a bit creaky and I haven’t been able to add my Google Latitude account as the app crashes each time, and the GPS performance is rather slow, but if you have friends on Gowalla/Google who don’t use Foursquare this is quite a good way of participating on all location services.
  • Instagram lets you take pictures with your iPhone, apply a filter to it, and then upload it to various social networks. If you connect it to Foursquare, then uploading a picture will also check you in, and add the picture to your checkin. It’ll also add Foursquare metadata if you post it to Flickr as well.
  • GetGlue is like Foursquare for things that aren’t places, like TV shows, films, computer games and the like, and you can earn stickers (as in actual stickers) for watching certain shows. The mobile app also includes Foursquare support, so if you’re watching a film at the cinema, a DVD box set at a friend’s house, or a TV show at the local bar, you can push that to Foursquare as well.
  • Untappd is a social network for beer enthusiasts, which allows you to share new beers that you have tried with your friends and compare them. Naturally, as much beer drinking happens in public locations like pubs and bars, Foursquare integration is included, so you can say what you are drinking and where.
  • Waze is aiming to build a free user-contributed turn-by-turn satnav application for smartphones. As well as letting you report traffic jams and contribute routes, the app will also let you check into Foursquare, and there’s even a special badge for doing so.

These are just some of the ways that you can use Foursquare in a different way to their own official apps. Of course, the official apps have their place – they’re the best way of viewing local specials (although Footfeed does try this too) and the Explore feature can also be very useful for sniffing out new and interesting venues to visit. But there are interesting alternatives available, and they’re worth looking at.

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