SCVNGR is a location-based service with apps for the iPhone and Android that wants to add a "game layer on top of the world." Starting today, the company is getting closer to this goal, as it is going international and expanding to about 80 new countries. Until today, SCVNGR was only available in the U.S.
SCVNGR is also switching away from its own proprietary location database. Thanks to its close relationship with Google (SCVNGR is, in part, funded by Google Ventures), the service is the first site to leverage the new Google Places API.
As the company's founder and "Chief Ninja" Seth Priebatsch told us yesterday, switching to the Google Places API allowed SCVNGR to quickly scale globally, as it can now rely on Google's extensive location database to power its service. SCVNGR users will now also be able to create challenges and treks - the central gaming elements on the service - at all of these locations. As we noted when Google first announced it, the Places API "could do for check-ins what Google Maps did for maps." As Priebatsch told us, the fact that Google gave his company access to this comprehensive global database with millions of locations made switching to it a no-brainer.
While SCVNGR plans to launch localized versions of its apps in the future, the interface is currently only available in English. Users can create challenges using their own languages, however.
The service, which launched just 20 weeks ago, currently has about half a million users, though it's not clear how many of these are active users. Priebatsch also told us that the company has managed to double the number of enterprise clients since its official launch to over 1000. SCVNGR clearly has a lot of momentum going for it right now and it will be interesting to see how the service develops now that it is going global.