Foursquare is using its influential position to bring some goodwill in bad times. This takes form in its third-annual Foursquare for Good Challenge. The idea is to reward developers who build altruistic and public-serving location-based applications using its Pilgrim SDK and Places API.
This involves an open call for proposals for location-based projects that serve any form of public good. The selected winner will get free access to the Foursquare developer tools listed above, as well as engineering support and resources, and a $10,000 donation from Foursquare.
Examples of past winners include AsylumConnect (2019) and Objective Zero (2018). Both organizations connected marginalized groups — LGBTQ and Veterans respectively — with resources and access to local support resources using Foursquare’s technology (see video below).
Other proposals last year included tools for special needs individuals to access local support, as well as ways to boost voter registration and turnout. We should see similar themes this year (especially the latter), says Foursquare Communications Manager Jesse Lane who’s spearheading the program.
“From the very beginning, when Foursquare opened up access to its API to the developer community in 2009, the company has been focused on creating a future where people engage with the real world more deeply through location technologies,” Lane told Localogy Insider. “We’ve always recognized the potential for location technology to be used in meaningful ways that impact the lives of real people, which is why we launched the Foursquare for Good program in 2018. We wanted to not only highlight those life-changing ideas, but we wanted our tech to act as a foundation upon which those incredible innovations were built.”
Lead by Example
Leading by example, Facebook recently used its platform for good. In the early days of the pandemic, it published several reports that provided insightful takeaways of consumer behavior amidst shifting conditions. This let businesses in lagging regions of outbreak prepare based on activity in other regions.
Panning back, not only could the world use public-serving tech, but location tech itself could use some positive light. Though it’s been a bit overshadowed by other factors, privacy issues still create some headwinds for the location intelligence sector. “Good actors” like Foursquare will survive the shakeout.
Last year Foursquare received nearly 50 submissions, and it’s hoping to surpass that total this year. The open application period is underway and ends October 25. We’ll keep an eye on the outcomes.