Foursquare, that seemingly odd app with a loyal user base proclaiming themselves Mayor of office buildings and shopping centers around the world, has created one of the most valuable APIs in mobile app development.
Jonathan Barouch, founder and CEO of location-based startup Roamz, wrote a compelling article for TechCrunch titled Foursquare’s API is a Pillar of the Mobile App Ecosystem. Barouch begins his article, “Foursquare has become entrenched in the fabric of the local web, providing an API that delivers common good for developers. Any destabilization in Foursquare or its developer tools would fundamentally affect the stability of the mobile web.”
As proof, Barouch points to the more than 40,000 developers currently using Foursquare’s location data and API as part of their app development strategy. Popular apps like Uber, Foodspotting and Instagram all rely on Foursqaure’s location data, as do a significant amount of the most popular apps on the market today. The Foursquare API can be easily integrated and remains a popular option for Enterprise mobile app developers. This popular usage leads Barouch to write, “I would guess that by adding together the unique users of the popular apps that Foursquare powers, you would find that its data touches several hundred million users. Foursquare remaining healthy and maintaining an open API is critically important to Apple given the reliance on Foursquare of so many popular iOS apps.”
Foursquare might not be an independent social media giant, but its API is relied on by all the major players. Despite acquiring Instagram, Facebook still uses Foursquare’s API for the over 100 million Instagram users on the service (indicating a higher reliability perhaps than Facebook Place data), and Twitter has tied location services for their new Vine app into the API as well.
Mobile app developers have an extremely strong digital strategy asset in Foursquare’s API. On market value, Barouch writes, “These examples illustrate that Foursquare’s value is less about the size of its active user base and more related to the reach of its location database. Its API is fast becoming the de facto location layer of the mobile web and touches almost every user of location-based apps.”
If you offer location services as part of your mobile strategy, are you tied into Foursquare’s API?
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