FourSquare Opens API, Invites Developers to Play

FourSquare, the hot location-based services startup, is hoping to increase its momentum by opening its API to the public. Developers can use the API to visualize data generated by its community or create new ways to check into its service, the company said in a post today on its site. The company had already shared its API with a handful of developers, but opening it up to the public could entice a host of developers to build offerings on its service — and that would help set FourSquare apart from other players in a big way.

FourSquare launched at SXSW earlier this year along with three other LBS startups, making an already crowded space even more crammed. The service allows iPhone and Android users to check in and notify friends when they arrive at certain locations, like a bar or restaurant, and earn “badges” as they use the service.

There is no shortage of players in the LBS space, but FourSquare appears to have gained an impressive following. The New York-based startup was founded by Dennis Crowley — the guy behind Dodgeball — and two months ago pocketed $1.35 million in a first round of funding led by Twitter backer Union Square Ventures. Spurring the development of a variety of FourSquare apps could be a key advantage in an increasingly packed field.