Foursquare announced the expansion of its Venues API today, as part of its Venues Project. This allows developers to tap into information about places so they can see what's popular in real time, tag photos, drinks, and other data, and do things like build neighborhood photo or tip browsers to create local resources.
Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley said at SXSW today that They want to work with anyone with venue ideas. Check-ins will always be the core product, he said, but this adds to the service.
Crowley said that he is not opposed to potential Facebook Places integration, but Foursquare doesn't hear demand for it very often. They're trying to prioritize other things first.
Crowley also said that he's tight with Google and that it would be a great partner if the timing was right, and that they would "probably" partner with them.
On an interesting side note, apparently Crowley was in a Gap ad.
But back to the Venue Project. On the company blog, Foursquare says:
This is just the start of making location as easy as possible to integrate. One huge part of the Venues Project, which we’ve now made some headway on, is building a comprehensive Venue Harmonization Map. Right now, there’s no Rosetta Stone for location, allowing you to link information about a real-world place from one database to any other. For instance, if you look up a restaurant in the foursquare API, we give you our ID number for that location. But if you were to look up the same restaurant in The New York Times or MenuPages , they’d have a different ID number in their database. The Venue Harmonization Map aims to solve that, by translating those numbers so that you only have to look up the ID once. So, for instance, if you know the URL of a restaurant on Thrillist, you can find that same restaurant in our database. And the other way works, too! (Here’s an example.) The goal of foursquare’s Venue Harmonization Map is to translate between these databases, making it easier to create mash-ups, link to pages on other sites, or add foursquare widgets like “Add to foursquare” to publisher sites.
An ambitious project to say the least. In all honesty, Google does sound like a pretty good partner candidate in that regard.
Foursquare says its vision is to "create a powerful platform for users of any application that helps share and find experiences in the real world and, also, to build a foundation for any location-based service to use the easiest and most comprehensive database of the real world in history."