I have been using Foursquare off and on since 2010. I currently have checked in 1,321 times, have 10 mayorships, and have collected 26 badges. I am also a level 1 Superuser, giving me the ability to edit information to improve the service. None of these statistics mean anything, of course, but they show how much that I use and love the service.
Foursquare has, for a long time, felt like two apps to me. The first is the social app that includes checking in, sharing you relocation with friends, and competing for points and mayorships. The second, and most important to me, is the discovery app that includes tips and recommendations. Foursquare does an extremely good job at letting me find the best places wherever I go. I would not even consider traveling without Foursquare, because not only does it tell me the best restaurants, but it also tells me the best dishes there. Foursquare has collected tons of really great data from users over the years that makes them the best at what they do.
Today, Foursquare launched a new app called Swarm. Swarm is not meant to replace the existing Foursquare app, but to separate the two sides of the service into more specific tools. Swarm is the app that will now be used for checking into locations, and an update coming to the existing Foursquare app will be all about exploration. You can read more about the transition on Foursquare’s blog.
Swarm is a really well done app with a lot cool new features. But what really excites me is the changes coming to the Foursquare app this summer. Like I said, the most useful part of Foursquare for me is the recommendations. Foursquare has the potential to create the best darn travel app in the world because they have such a huge amount of data collected from users over the years. And that right there is the reason that Swarm is important. Without the users, Foursquare couldn’t be as great as it is.
As much as I love the exploration side of Foursquare, I also enjoy the side that is represented by Swarm. The app makes it fun to share your location and interacts with your environment. I only wish that more of my friends used the app, because without interaction the app is a lot less fun. That is a challenge that Foursquare and Swarm is facing. How do you explain to people why they should be using this app? Most people don’t see the value until they start using it. Without users, not only is Swarm less fun, but the Foursquare app lacks the data necessary to generate useful and timely information. By separating the service into two parts, it makes it a lot simpler for new users to jump in and see the value of Foursquare.
I have always really enjoyed using Foursquare because of the playfulness of the app, and Swarm is full of that. I think Foursquare’s new direction is a great move. It lowers the barrier of entry for new users, and simplifies a complex and rich service.
I encourage you to download and check out Swarm. It really is a fun way to share with friends, and it is also a nice looking app.