Foursquare splinters itself in two, will launch new app called 'Swarm'

Swarm will provide mobile messaging based on the locations of friends

The landing page for Foursquare's upcoming app, Swarm.

The landing page for Foursquare's upcoming app, Swarm.

Foursquare, one of the first apps to put location-sharing on the map, is rethinking its service and dividing it in two in an effort to stay relevant.

The company will soon launch a messaging app called "Swarm," designed to let users keep in touch with their friends. Social networking has been a big part of the main Foursquare app, but now the company will be siphoning off those services.

Swarm users will be able to see which of their friends are nearby and share what they're doing more easily than with the current Foursquare app, the company said in its announcement.

"We wanted to build a quick way for you to know these two things for all of your friends," Foursquare said.

Swarm will be available on iOS and Android in the coming weeks and soon after on Windows Phone. People can tell Foursquare they're interested at swarmapp.com, and Foursquare will send an email when it's ready.

Meanwhile, the main Foursquare app will stay focused on search and location discovery, though it will rely heavily on delivering more personalized recommendations. Foursquare did not say exactly how it would be delivering its tailored recommendations, though it may be based on users' history of places visited and the activity of trusted contacts.

Oddly though, Foursquare will be eliminating the check-in button in its new app, according to a report on The Verge. The button was Foursquare's main consumer-facing function in the first place. The company will likely face new challenges in delivering personalized recommendations without the data provided by the button.

Foursquare did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Foursquare faces enormous challenges in keeping users and businesses engaged with its service. Mobile location-sharing was hot when the company introduced it in 2009, but since then smartphones have exploded in popularity and consumers have taken to doing many more things on them.

There are now entire industries built around mobile messaging, games and automated location-based notifications.

"The explicit check-in has become passe," said Brian Blau, an industry analyst with Gartner. To stay alive, Foursquare has to do something.

Splintering itself in two could provide a way to provide a more focused service around specific experiences. Facebook has even embarked on a similar multi-app strategy around specific types of sharing as its service has become bloated.

But Swarm does not sound like a revolutionary product and may even be a risky move. Other startups have sought to provide a messaging service based on where a user's friends are, but some users are uneasy with passively broadcasting their location at all times.

The new discovery-focused version of Foursquare will be made available in the summer. Swarm and the main Foursquare app will work seamlessly together, the company said.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesconsumer electronicsFoursquaresmartphonessocial networkingmobilesocial mediainternetmobile applications

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?