To show off the power of HTML5 in Internet Explorer 9, fashionably-late-to-the-party Microsoft has collaborated with foursquare to build a virtual city based on real foursquare venues. Microsoft showed it off last night at an IE 9 release party at SXSW. The result is a beautiful and interesting environment to virtually explore the places around you called foursquare playground.
The playground uses geolocation to determine where you are and shows the venues that are nearby on a grid reminiscent of SimCity. More popular venues are taller and each one is themed to its foursquare category. Businesses with specials are marked with pink flags. They appear to be randomly placed instead of built on anything resembling an actual city grid.
Foursquare users who log in get some extra treats, like the ability to see how many people are currently checked in at each place (represented by a pink bubble on the roof) and a filter to only show venues that are currently trending.
Clicking a building takes you “inside” where you can check the treasure box for tips, view the mayor and see who’s inside represented by a swarm of Marsbots. If there are more than 49 people currently there, you can take the elevator to see more people on different floors.
The site was built by Vectorform. It’s one of the first sites to show what’s possible now that foursquare has raised the rate limits on their venues API. It works in IE 9 (of course), Safari 5 and Chrome 10.
What do you think of the foursquare playground?