Foursquare just announced that it is partnering with RunKeeper, an application that helps users track fitness routines, to allow members of the location-based social network to earn badges without actually having to check-in.
So users of RunKeeper will earn exclusive badges on Foursquare by hitting different milestones within the app. For example, you an unlock a Marathon badge by using RunKeeper to track long distance running without having to check-in to a gym or park. The badge will show up in your RunKeeper profile as well as with your badges on Foursquare. We’re told the integration will work with both the free and paid RunKeeper iPhone and Android apps.
The interesting part of this announcement is that it is further evidence of Foursquare’s intention to move beyond check-ins. As stated in the post: “We’re also aware that some of those behaviors don’t necessarily involve a check-in, which is why today we’re excited to introduce the first badge you unlock by doing something, not just checking in.”
Foursquare goes on to say that it is going to develop similar partnerships to allow users to unclock badges via “real-world experiences” with “carefully selected partners.” We know that Foursquare is looking to move beyond the check-in; the new version of their iPhone app includes an emphasis on both Tips and To-Dos. It’s a smart strategy. And this latest emphasis on badges doesn’t deviate from Foursquare’s brand and experience. And the possibilities for partnerships with other applications seems endless (although Foursquare wants to be selective with its partners).