Why Can't You Share Photos on FourSquare?

As we have noted, FourSquare has become an extremely popular way to share where you are. However, unlike yesterday's hot location-sharing app, BrightKite, FourSquare does not have the ability to share photos. Is this an oversight, or is it an opportunity to fill a void?

At least one developer has pounced on photo sharing on FourSquare, but not as you might expect. Rather than create a mobile application, Sam Street wrote his own API, Fspic (details at our Fspic API profile).

Fspic FourSquare photo sharing

Street explained how photo-sharing is useful to the FourSquare API discussion list:

"The uploadPhoto API method will accept venue_ids and be able to perform venue checkins as well as text shouts. This makes for a great feature whereby you can see all the photos of a certain venue, and all photos of venues within a certain city."

That is, perhaps, a glimpse of the future. However, there are very few FourSquare clients now, with most developers using the API to read only. By far the most popular check-in client is the official application from FourSquare, which does not support photo uploading.

In order for photo sharing to even be very usable, clients will need to provide ways to actually used links passed during check-in, Street points out. Also, he thinks it would be useful to point to specific users (like Twitter's @reply), something also missing from FourSquare.

While Fspic may very well be useful, Street calls it "alpha testing stage." It first needs a more mature FourSquare ecosystem and then adoption within the developer community. Until then, among the options Street is considering is his own dedicated Fspic iPhone application to get things going.

Do you think people want to share photos on FourSquare? Are developers more likely to use Fspic or roll their own photo sharing?

Be sure to read the next News Services article: Data is Journalism: Politics API from The Guardian