Foursquare API Fuels Third-Party App That May be a Better Foursquare

There is a new way to play Foursquare, the location-sharing game that just celebrated its first birthday. Kickball is an iPhone app that uses the Foursquare API (our Foursquare API profile) to let users check-in or see their friends. But it adds a few features that may have you leaving behind the flagship app that first made Foursquare so popular.

Kickball adds map views and venue-specific photo sharing, in addition to other interface treats. The result is that it's easier to find your dfriends and even more fun to use.

At the SXSW conference, where I first tested a beta version of the app, the map view was many times better for determining whether some party was walkable. I expect in other cities it would continue to be useful when street names and addresses are foreign. Even back in my hometown of Portland I was happy to be able to see friends and venues in map view.

Photo sharing is a great addendum to the venue information available from Foursquare. You can see any photo uploaded by other Kickball users and add your own. As we mentioned previously, there is no picture sharing in Fourqsquare, so developers have had to incorporate their own. Kickball's is home-grown. It would be great to see them team up with FsPic (our FsPic API profile) and other services to contribute to and take advantage of a growing database of venue photos.

The company behind Kickball, The Gorlochs, call themselves "former Dungeons & Dragons playing nerds." Though the team previously worked in advertising, Kickball is its first product. The app is currently available for free, but The Gorlochs plans to charge eventually. So grab that app now and let us know whether it will replace the main Foursquare app for you.

Be sure to read the next Mapping article: Bing Maps Says Go Ahead, Broadcast Your Mashup on TV