We’ve written about Foursquare a number of times. It’s a really nice tool for keeping track of where your friends are, while at the same time playing this oddly competitive social game. As a stand-alone app, it’s great. But the data it’s collecting may be just as interesting, and the service SocialGreat is one of the first to make use of it.
The idea behind SocialGreat is very simple: To show the most popular places in cities during set periods of time. As the tagline says, “Where’s the crowd?” But here’s why it’s better than a regular rating system: You vote with your feet. As in, if you go to a place, and check-in there, it gets a point on the leader board.
The service launched in New York City a couple weeks ago, and last week it added San Francisco. This allowed it to track the movements of nearly 3,000 people, which provided some interesting data about how groups migrate from place to place. But starting today, it’s now available in all the cities that Foursquare is available in. This will undoubtedly mean a lot more data points, and even more interesting information.
SocialGreat uses Foursquare’s API to pull your information. When you visit the site, you click the “Join” button and you’re taken to a Foursquare page to allow your data to be sent via OAuth. Your data is then entered into the information pool.
SocialGreat’s main page keeps it simple: You can track the hot places based on hour, day, week, or all-time. A list shows you how many people have been to that place, as well as the recent trend of people going or not going there (expressed in positive or negative numbers, respectively). To the right of this list, all of the popular places are shown on a map. From there you can click on any of them to get their address.
One downside is so many people check in at airports. That’s why in the image above you see “San Francisco” leading the pack (it’s really SFO, the airport). The same is true in New York. Still, that should be easy enough to filter out if the service chooses to.
As I said, it’s a simple idea and application, but it’s potentially a very good idea to track trendy places based on a very real metric — people actually going to them. Of course, it will be more useful the more people who sign up and use Foursquare, and in turn allow SocialGreat to access their data.
SocialGreat is the brainchild of Pepper Lillie’s Bill Piel and Googler Jon Steinberg (which is kind of interesting since Foursquare itself is the similar, follow-up service to Dodgeball, which Google bought in 2005, only to let it die). The duo also go the help of Drop.io CEO Sam Lessin.
Update: As Piel notes in the comments, the full range of cities aren’t quite live on the front-end of the site yet (they will be tomorrow), but you can probably figure out the URL for the city you’re looking for pretty easily.