For ages, people have been wondering how crowded places are before they go. Before foursquare, your options were to either show up and take your chances or call and ask an employee, who may or may not give you a straight answer. FoursCrowd, a new web and mobile site, aims to help by using foursquare’s data to determine if a particular place is crowded.
FoursCrowd lets you search for a particular foursquare venue by name and compares the number of people currently checked in to the total number of checkins to determine if it’s currently crowded or not. It also shows you an all-time popularity score so you can gauge how popular the place is and its confidence level in the crowd estimate.
There’s also an option to show trending venues (places with five or more people checked in) within a given area. It’s a good tool for finding the current hotspots.
Foursquare data is useful for a lot of things, but outside of New York and San Francisco (where the penetration is much higher), I’m not sure how useful it would be. There simply aren’t enough people checking in on foursquare to create a statistically relevant sample size. At 3 pm, my local Chipotle, for example, shows one person checked in; FoursCrowd says this means the place is crowded. I know that unless they’re handing out free burritos in the parking lot, that’s unlikely to be the case.
FoursCrowd is a fun tool for getting a quick idea how many people are checked in somewhere on foursquare, but I don’t think there’s quite enough data to really make it reliably useful at this point. Hopefully as foursquare’s userbase continues to grow, the numbers will hold more relation to real world traffic patterns.