Mobile was a big deal a few years ago. Everybody had to move their apps to mobile and bring the desktop experience to consumers on the go. Now everybody is moving towards a mobile ecosystem where our apps are all connected. Facebook has been leading the charge with Open Graph, but foursquare's attempt at connecting apps over mobile is one of the more interesting yet.
Location-based social media powerhouse, foursquare, announced their new Connected Apps platform yesterday. They don't explicitly say that they were influenced by Facebook's Open Graph, but the idea behind it is the same. Developers can craft their apps to work within foursquare to provide additional information without having to leave the foursquare experience.
To elaborate, take this example: You are traveling to a local restaurant that you have not been to before. You check in with the foursquare mobile app to let your friends know where you're at. On the information screen, you have Foodspotting set up within foursquare now to let you know what other people have eaten at that location. So now you have a good idea of what to expect food-wise from this location without having to open another app.
You can now see why foursquare is pretty excited about the possibilities. Not only do they get great third-party app content on their platform, but they get to keep people using their platform for all their needs. The foursquare gods are benevolent, however, and will provide links to all apps that reside within their platform. The hope is that will drive traffic and adoption between foursquare and all of their partner apps just like Facebook's Open Graph does.
The new feature is currently in developer preview, but app developers can check it out now. While foursquare doesn't have the size of Facebook behind it, it's definitely more focused. If you have an app that can benefit people visiting new places like restaurants, parks, etc; then you might want to look into developing an app for foursquare.
The foursquare blog has a list of some services that are already building apps within their platform to take advantage of Connected Apps. The aforementioned Foodspotting is one of the major apps, but there's also less food oriented apps like The Weather Channel which tells you the current conditions when you check in.
The new Connected Apps platform is available today on Android and iOS. The last two remaining BlackBerry developers will get access to the SDK and APIs at a later date. It's important to reiterate that this is a developer preview so everything might not work as intended. The guys at foursquare are hoping to launch the fully-featured version of the Connected Apps platform sometime later this year.