Foursquare hosted their hurricane-delayed Hackathon over the weekend and it was, by all accounts, a rousing success. More than 100 hackers appeared at Foursquare’s New York HQ and 50 came to the San Francisco office. Hundreds more joined in from around the world. In total, they submitted more than 80 new apps based on the Foursquare platform.
The original Hackathon, scheduled to take place the weekend after Hurricane Sandy hit, was themed to connected apps. Many of the apps submitted are in fact considered connected apps, despite the fact that Foursquare changed the theme to “It’s all about the endpoints” following their about face on connected apps (the most recent versions of Foursquare’s mobile apps relegate connected apps to a hidden screen that many users — including many of the Hackathon developers (based on the videos they’ve submitted) — aren’t able to find).
In this list, I’ll feature ten of my personal favorites from the Hackathon. Some are still being developed, while others are as done as they’ll ever be, but they represent what I think are the best ideas that were presented. Foursquare will release a list of the winners later this week.
Check In Take Out
Standing in line when you get somewhere to eat isn’t a lot of fun. Check In Take Out hopes to eliminate lines from the equation by letting you place your order and pay for it as soon as you check in at a place. You choose the items you’d like to order from the Foursquare menu for the venue, then initiate a payment through Venmo. Your order and payment are sent to the venue where they can prepare your food and let you know when it’s ready.
For the demo, the Check In Take Out team actually arranged for the app to work at three different restaurants. It’ll take a lot of work to get more restaurants on board, but it is an interesting concept that has the potential to be a monetizable app down the road.
Check In Take Out won the $500 prize from Venmo at the Hackathon.
PonyUp is a simple app that helps you split the bill with friends when dining at a restaurant. You simply tap through on the connected app, choose the items you ordered (based off Foursquare’s menus) and add any tips/taxes. It opens up the Venmo app and prepares a payment to your friend.
FlashSquare is an iPhone app that’s still under development. It’s essentially SnapChat for Foursquare venues. You take a picture, post it to the venue and when your friends check in there they’ll be able to see it — only once and only for a few seconds.
I hate carrying around a bunch of loyalty cards in my pocket. FourPass offers a neat way to help eliminate them by letting you store a picture of the card’s barcode and then retrieving it (by way of a connected app) when you check in to the appropriate store.
The app is pretty slick, but as I looked for a card to test it with, I realized every single loyalty card in my wallet these days uses a magnetic stripe in place of a barcode. Sadly there’s not much FourPass can do to help with that problem.
Some of the apps created at the Hackathon are useful, while others are just for fun. CouchCachet definitely falls into the latter category. When you check in to your house on a Friday night, it offers to invent a fun evening for you so you can keep up appearances with your friends.
You choose from a few different styles of evenings and once you’ve approved the plan, it creates the necessary check-ins, shouts and (sometimes) photos and shares them with your friends on Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter to make it look like you’re having the time of your life.
I certainly don’t recommend anyone actually use this app, but it is a fun concept!
There are plenty of apps out there that offer to show an image of everyone who’s currently checked in to a place on some sort of digital signage board inside the venue, but rewardboard takes it a step further by offering an incentive for users to check in.
It’s connected to a small thermal printer that “randomly” spits out a coupon at intervals defined by the merchant. They can be redeemed for discounts, freebies, or anything else the merchant decides to offer.
One of the items on my Foursquare Christmas Wish List was a feature to let groups use Explore collaboratively to offer suggestions everyone in the group is likely to enjoy. That’s exactly the premise behind FoodWith.Us.
You tell it which of your Foursquare friends you’ll be eating with (you can even save them into different groups for different occasions) and FoodWith.Us will suggest a place you should all like based on your combined check-in histories.
Unfortunately there’s a bug in the system that prevents it from actually providing a suggestion right now, so I can’t confirm that the results match the promise. The developer is working on a fix and it should be available again soon. It’s now working perfectly!
Do you ever find yourself opening the same app whenever you get to a specific place? 4sqTrigger aims to make that easier with a connected app that lets you set up a link to open any website or app of your choosing when you check in on Foursquare.
I set up a link to Chipotle’s online ordering site (a trick I learned from this excellent Hacking Chipotle post) to pop up whenever I check in there and a link to open Wallabee when I check in at the grocery store (since I always forget to forage while I’m there). It’s simple, but it could give some fairly powerful options to the hackers among you.
Bookbag Me is a super-simple Foursquare connected app that shows you a list of books from your Amazon wish list (and USA Today’s bestsellers) whenever you check in at a bookstore. It’s a great way to be reminded of those books you added a long time ago but have since forgotten about.
Another simple connected app, NASDAQ Facts shows you the current stock price for the companies you check in to. It’s not particularly useful, but it’s certainly an interesting and relevant fact to know when you’re checking in.
Which of these apps are your favorites? Are there any from the master list that you liked better?