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Foursquare is no longer just about location

Day one of the 2-day hackathon at the NY location
Day one of the 2-day hackathon at the NY location
Alice Lee / Foursquare / Flickr

Foursquare recently hosted their first global hackathon, as reported earlier. Hacks demonstrating creative uses ranged from photo-based check-ins, Foursquare travel logs set to music and video, to public restroom rating systems. Official hackathon locations in New York, Paris, Tokyo and San Francisco monitored each other’s progress via a continuous webcam feed and online chats. By the end of the event, 90 hacks in total were submitted, both from the official site locations and from the independent participants.

New York’s top honors in the People’s Choice categories went to “How ___ Are You?”- first place; DigiDJ – second place; and Place Face – third place. How Blank Are You? pulls the regional census data from your Foursquare check-in location. Music lovers can check-in at their local hot spot and find the playlist of their favorite Deejays, generated by Spotify. And Place Face lets you change your Foursquare avatar based on where you check-in, the mood and the types of activities that occur at the venue.

In San Francisco, the favorite, Near, takes window shopping and eavesdropping to a new level. As their video shows, the app let’s you find out who’s at a location, customer reviews, and the current mayor, simply by being in the vicinity, without checking in. And if you do check-in, your name and picture hijack your screen and traditional concept of window display advertising.

Paris’ top picks were Gettogether, Check Me In and 4square TV. Gettogether let’s you schedule events with your Foursquare friends. Check Me In, an iPad app, wants to help local businesses give their customers a unique check-in experience. And 4square TV mashes your check-ins with relative photos, street/ web-cam images and your updates or tips for a cool one minute video that displays where you’ve been for the past few days. Check out mine.

Tokyo’s top hack, the Photosquare app, produces a photo slide show compiled from venue pictures taken by other Foursquare users. Photosquare users can also snap a picture and add the image to their Foursquare To-Do list.

More than 500 developers across 30 locations and 6 continents participated in the global event. I had the privilege of attending the NY hackathon. Here are a few more NY hacks that stood out:

- Loo Review is for those with public restroom phobias or obsessed with the cleanliness of restrooms, the Loo Review lets you view, rate, photograph and/or warn other Foursquare users about a venue’s facilities. But does that mean that to use, I must let my Foursquare friends know when I’ve gone to the potty?

- Everything is Cool serves as a social media alert notification system during times of emergencies. The hack uses your contact list to notify everyone via email of your location and that you are OK after you’ve done a check-in. This app could have been awesome to use after the earthquake or Hurricane Irene.

- Stanfan also alerts family and friends of your safety status by tracking your location hourly using Foursquare. In addition, Stanfan sends details like battery life and the signal strength of your phone to loved ones. This app will go over well with parents of teenagers.

Public online voting to pick the best hack concluded last week. The first Foursquare Global Hackathon winner will have their hack displayed on the NASDAQ screen in Times Square and become the new Foursquare Global Hackathon champion’s belt holder.

Congratulations to the Foursquare staff, Erin, Akshay, Dennis and Naveen for a successful event and for being awesome hosts.


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