Foursquare announced today that they’re opening up a new API to allow other services to import historical checkins into foursquare. With the recent announcement that Gowalla will be closing in January, it would seem such an announcement is aimed squarely at transitioning those users to foursquare.
The form where developers can apply to import their historical place data says:
We’re allowing select applications to create historical check-ins for their users. The expected intent of these applications will be to import check-in activity from other services, or to bootstrap past check-ins from other sources of location history.
Up to now, foursquare’s API has strictly allowed checkins stamped with the current time (except for a brief period early on where checkins could be imported from Dodgeball). This new API would essentially allow checkins with a timestamp sometime in the past.
That means Gowalla (or a third-party developer working with their API) could transition users’ checkins â€” and possibly even photos â€” to foursquare. While it’s not the Gowalla experience they’ve come to love, it would certainly be a better end than simply throwing away as many as three years worth of historical location data.
While they’re the most obvious example, Gowalla users aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit from such an API. There are plenty of services that keep a location history of sorts whose data could be imported into foursquare.
UPDATE: One more note from foursquare’s developer announcement: “Imported check-ins will only count towards a user’s history andÂ recommendations… they will not affect the gaming aspects ofÂ foursquare (e.g. they won’t affect mayorships, badges, etc.).”
/Photo CC-licensed on Flickr by fdecomite