No need to run for shelter just yet. Swarm is actually a new app from our pinpointing friends Foursquare that is in the works as we speak.
Foursquare is undergoing a major overhaul in the near future in efforts to boost up its faltering services and stocks. The idea behind the change is that users have only been using Foursquare for the sole purpose of checking in to a location. This is disappointing as Foursquare was initially designed to not only do that but to also provide information on nearby attractions such as good spots nearby to have a great coffee.
To address this, Foursquare has decided to rebuild itself into two separate apps; a revamped Foursquare and Swarm.
The new app, Swarm, is a service that utilizes passive-location sharing, where the app broadcasts your general location, not an exact coordinate, to your friends without having to check-in. Fret not you check-in enthusiasts out there, the check-in function is still retained. What this change does is give us the option of either providing an exact location to where you are now by checking in or broadcasting a general location through the ambient location service of Swarm, both with the objective of letting your friends know where you are.
Furthermore, it provides an interface to allow communication with people nearby to schedule meet ups. This way you know who’s up for a movie or a drink whenever you are on the move. Essentially, the developers at Foursquare would like to eliminate the need for you to text your friends to ask where they are and also to compete with other services such as the Facebook “Nearby Friends” feature.
The Foursquare app will still be retained but with a complete overhaul of its core concept. The biggest change will be the complete removal of the check-in feature will be transferred to Swarm instead. It will now serve as a personalized search engine for places of interest near you. It does this by collecting the data through the existing Foursquare technology regarding your previous visits, routes and period of stay at various locations in order to generate a search list suited to your taste. The emphasis for the new Foursquare would be ‘social discovery’, an idea that was lost with the original Foursquare and keen to be brought back by the developers.
The unbundling of Foursquare to the two new apps is an interesting attempt by the developers at Foursquare to stay relevant in the social media market. In fact, this unbundling process is not unheard off and has been applied by many big names including Google and Facebook for its Messenger service. Perhaps with this change, we will finally look at Foursquare as more than just a fancy check-in button.