In response to the dwindling popularity of social media “check-ins,” Foursquare is splitting itself in two. With 5 billion check-ins since its 2009 launch and over 40 million users, the geo-location app has been unsuccessful in gathering investors. The move comes after Foursquare faced shutdown, unable to keep up with younger apps like Instagram.
Looking at Foursquare as a simple check-in and badge collecting app was far from the vision its founders had in mind. The solution is dividing Foursquare into two apps – Foursquare and a new one called Swarm – to essentially unbundle the two experiences that Foursquare provides. It also means getting rid of the thing that’s holding the company back: the outdated check-in button. These changes will help Foursquare become a more powerful and popularly used app capable of competing in the social world.
So how will this new-and-improved pair of apps work? Since only 1 in 20 Foursquare sessions included social and discovery aspects being used together, the split makes perfect sense. Think of the revamped Foursquare app as the discovery side of the Foursquare experience, while the Swarm app is the social side.
The New Foursquare App
- Here’s the gist. 2014’s Foursquare will be your source for recommendations. It’ll be all about exploring and discovering what’s out there – and what’s cool.
- Bye-bye, check-ins. Because most smartphones now have geo-location software built-in, the outdated check-in aspect is gone from the Foursquare experience altogether. Instead, the app will passively understand when you’ve entered a new location.
- Hello, customization. When you arrive somewhere new, Foursquare will give you tips and suggested locales in the area, tailored by popularity and your personal preferences. This is the primary way in which Foursquare positions itself as a competitor of Yelp. Yelp can tell you where there’s pizza nearby, but the new Foursquare app knows what kind of pizza you like and can customize its suggestions for you.
- The idea. Swarm is your social heat map. It lets you know the general location of where your friends are (for instance, the same neighborhood or city) and is intended to be your go-to app for hanging out with friends.
- What makes it different? Swarm is similar to Facebook’s Nearby Friends app, but the company believes it’s tailored to the kind of location-sharing that people really want. Rather than pinpointing you or your friends on a map, Swarm uses passive location-sharing to make your trusted group of friends aware of your general location – without you having to check in.
Whether used in combination or separately, the Foursquare and Swarm apps focus on providing the type of experience that Foursquare users were silently demanding. Born at the start of the smartphone age, they recognized their need to accommodate the changing social landscape. And with a new pair of apps that can tell you who’s where and what’s hot, they seem to be meeting that change head-on.
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