And It Begins: Foursquare Shatters Its Check-In Record The Day Before SXSW

The official Foursquare account just sent out a tweet letting everyone know that today is already the service’s biggest day ever. This is interesting since it’s actually the day before the SXSW conference kicks off in Austin, Texas.

According to the tweet, Foursquare broke 275,000 check-ins (the previous record, set last Friday) for the day “hours ago.” This means they’re very likely well past 300,000 now and perhaps even higher. To put that in some perspective, just a month ago, Foursquare set a record with 1.2 million check-ins for the entire week. And that was double was it was the month prior. At today’s rate, Foursquare would be doing well over 2 million check-ins a week.

Today happens to be the first birthday of Foursquare, so they shared some numbers earlier. The service now has over 500,000 users, they’ve given out over 1 million badges, there are over 1.4 million venues in the system, with over 1,200 specials available. And in total, there have been some 15.5 million check-ins. But that was before today’s record numbers.

While there are well over a dozen location-based services launching something at SXSW, the main two competitors vying for users’ time are expected to be Foursquare and Austin-native Gowalla. For its part, Gowalla noted that it was “Amazing to watch the Gowalla action on the eve of SXSW. AMAAAAAAZING!,” earlier today. Both recently revamped their websites, and both yesterday launched their new iPhone apps. And judging from the data provided by SimpleGeo, both are absolutely on fire right now and could go nuclear this weekend.

Update: Gowalla has a range of just about every possible venue you can imagine for SXSW and so far (again, the day before the conference), they’ve seen 352 check-ins at the SXSW Badge Pick-Up alone.