Where Are NYC's iPhone-Toting Geeks Hanging Out? Find Out Here

Foursquare, the newish iPhone app from ex-Googler/Dodgeball creator Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai, lets you see where your friends are hanging out in real-time via their “check-ins.”

Googler Jon Steinberg has taken that to the next step, tapping into Foursquare’s API to anonymously track (and map) the most popular NYC venues on a new site, Social Great.

Right now, it tracks about 1,000 Foursquare users anonymously, mapping the top check-in spots and their growth/decline in popularity. And it works! Tom & Jerry’s, a downtown NYC bar, is definitely the place we’d go to find geeks poking their iPhones.

Here’s what it looks like:

Jon created the site for fun along with engineer Bill Piel and Drop.io cofounder Sam Lessin. (Steinberg’s other projects include DropBoxee, a Drop.io app for Boxee, and Twittertise, a Twitter tool for companies.)

Why? He explains:

FourSquare, in our opinion, is doing something incredibly interesting by allowing on-the-scene users of local establishments and businesses to interact with them in real time both in person and online.  The actions these users take are distinctly active and easy when they choose to “check in” or add a tip at a local restaurant or bar.  It brings the local information online in an easy and natural way.  There’s the seed of something very powerful here and exposing that information in crowd wisdom or “crowd feet” form is what we are trying to achieve with SocialGreat.  What better rating is there than foot traffic and active expression of that traffic?

The sample size is increased each time a FourSquare user heads to SocialGreat.com and clicks “join” and goes through the FourSquare oauth process.  This allows SocialGreat to then poll their checkins and those of their friends several times an hour. 

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