Back in November the first sign that Foursquare was growing up and wearing big boy clothes was news about its "early adopter APIs." Apps like MobZombies, FourTapOyster, Layar and LastNightsCheckin were the first to queue up for the popular location-based social network. On May 12, Foursquare took a page out of the Apple iPhone App Store's playbook, and launched an aggregation of third-party applications built on top its core service aptly named, the App Gallery.
According to Mashable and TechCrunch, Foursquare suspects there are more than 500 applications accessing the functionality and promoting them to their own user-base. This week alone, Tagwhat emerged to not only utilize the Foursquare API but to also bundle its own Augmented Reality location-based service into its offering (see "Tagwhat, You're It! Augmented Reality Is Future Of Location-Based Social Networks").
Apparently the 500 apps that have already been built is such a large number, Dennis Crowley, co-founder of Foursquare cannot even keep track on what's in his inventory. In a recent interview conducted by Jennifer Van Grove from Mashable. Crowley admits to only knowing "about a handful of them."
Needless to say, the one app that Van Grove brought to his attention was geared toward the hipster, nightlife set, not necessarily for all Foursquare users - so it might not been one on Crowley's radar. Assisted Serendipity is an app that can help determine the male-female ratio at a night spot in advance of ever venturing into a venue. It's for those looking for some action and stacking the odds in their favor.
Testing the waters to see if this is something people will be interested in, the App Gallery currently has 10 downloadable apps posted. Like Apple's iPhone App Store, Foursquare will let users find apps by category, while also featuring several at a time at the top of the Gallery page, and listing recently-submitted apps. Each app will be given its own page within the Gallery, providing further description and screen-shots. Presently there are no user reviews, but that seems like a logical next step. Here is a sample Gallery page that features "Gatsby," an app that introduces you to nearby people who share common interests to yourself.
Users will also be able to use buttons to share new applications via social networks, and of course they will be able to upvote or “like” certain submissions, allowing future visitors to determine the popularity of any one app.
Currently, the featured apps include HootSuite (a service to share your favorite locations with your friends), Kickball (a new interface design), FourFace (a creative interface changer) and Mob Zombies (a game that plays on the zombie apocalypse meme).
In the competitive location-based service space, it's moves like this that continues to distinguish Foursquare from the pack. And with the encroachment of Facebook eager to launch it's own LBS with one significant partnership (see "Facebook & McDonald's App Tests Foursquare-like Location-based Social Networking"), it's not any wonder that it continues to innovate and enhance its core product regularly.