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Meet Gatsby, matchmaker for Foursquare users

Foursquare's closed social network is getting a little more open with third-party tool Meet Gatsby. It helps you find other people to be friends with based on location and similar interests.

A few weeks ago we took a look at CheckoutCheckins, a free service that helps users understand more about their Foursquare addiction habits. Now there's another companion tool (from a different developer) called Meet Gatsby that can help you meet other Foursquare users with those same interests.

In a nutshell, it has people fill out things they like, such as hobbies or social activities. Then, the next time they check in somewhere, it will connect them to someone else in the vicinity who also signed up for the service and who shares one or more of those interests.

What's really neat, though, is how it connects people. Each time it suggests a match, it sets up an anonymous way to send text messages to that other user without either of the parties having to give up their real phone number. Users can send a few messages back and forth before ever taking the plunge on setting up an actual meeting.

Like many of the early tools that popped up to augment Twitter, Meet Gatsby could be classified as a social network in and of itself. For instance, you have to give it additional information about yourself on top of what it can glean from your Foursquare account. However, this can lead to more social discovery than a tool would be able to get off of your Foursquare check-ins alone.

For now the service is U.S.-only, and since it uses text messages, users should be wary of potential charges if you don't have a messaging plan. Also, might have a thing or two to say about that mascot, guys.

Meet Gatsby gives users a way to meet other Foursquare users they share interests with, then send semi-anonymous SMS messages to one another. Meet Gatsby/CNET