Foursquare Hack Switches Your Profile Photo Based on Your Location

The Hack of the Week Series highlights a new hackathon programming project each week.

You change depending on where you are going. So why shouldn’t your profile photo? One participant at Foursquare’s first global hack day came up with a way to automatically change your picture to match the kind of venue you’re checked into.

PlaceFace, created by Jason Pope and Jonathan Wegener at the weekend-long event in New York, asks users to select profile photos for eight Foursquare categories such as “education” and “nightlife.” When a user checks into a new venue, the app changes his or her Foursquare profile photo to match the venue’s category. Enthusiastic users can also connect their Twitter accounts, so the thumbnails on their tweets change at the same time.

The hack won third place, which means Pope and Wegener are the proud owners of a giant, inflatable remote-controlled shark. It also means they’ll be entered in the global competition, where they have the opportunity to win a boxing-inspired prize belt.

Wegener is no stranger to this scene. At a Foursquare hack day in February, he built what is now a popular app called 4SquareAnd7YearsAgo. It uses the Foursquare API to remind you what you were doing a year ago. Pope, a software engineer at a computer security company, is a Foursquare hackathon rookie. The pair met when Wegener stopped by the hackathon for what he intended to be an hour, and ended up staying the entire weekend.

The team isn’t allowed to update the hack until voting for the global competition is finished, but eventually Wegener says they might update the hack with an option to take photos on a webcam and add more of Foursquare’s 364 different categories — starting with the burrito category.

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