SCVNGR, a social game startup funded by Google Ventures, is leveraging the Google Places API to "build the game layer on top of the world."
SCVNGR, which has 500,000 users spread across 650 companies and other individuals, offers a location-based platform that programmers can use to build social games, tours and other Web services.
SCVNGR players' incentive is to earn points for going to places, taking a picture of themselves from an Apple iPhone or Google Android handset and sharing it with friends on SCVNGR, Facebook and Twitter.
Paired with Google Places, SCVNGR users will be able to visit millions of locations around the world to check-in and unlock badges and rewards.
SCVGNR is not much different than Foursquare or Gowalla, which award badges to users for "checking in" to locations from their smartphones. Foursquare is leveraging business partnerships with Starbucks and others to reward users for such check-ins.
With the Google Places API, SCVNGR looks to do the same. Google Places is the company's effort to let local businesses customize the information consumers see about them on Google.com or Google Maps.
Places businesses can leverage Google's AdWords platform through a new platform called Boost, or buy Tags for $25 a month to call attention to products or sales.
These services leverage Google's vast location information database, which is open to businesses such as SCVNGR through an API.
"Our goal has always been to build the game layer on top of the world. But until today, we were missing a critical component... the rest of the world," said SCVNGR Chief Ninja Seth Priebatsch. "We're excited to go live globally today, and to do so with the best location database on the planet."
SCVNGR said its default interface will be in English, though every programmer will be able to create their own content in their native language.