Foursquare went and pissed a bunch of people off when they decided to "unbundle" and separate the core functions of their main app into two apps. They relegated check-ins to a new app, called Swarm, and promised that Foursquare would relaunch in the summer as an app entirely devoted to local search and recommendations. Some with an if it ain't broke don't fix it mindset were skeptical.
Despite the criticism – which they most certainly saw coming – Foursquare is moving ahead as planned. Foursquare's new app – new logo and all – is now available for download. Foursquare had already cut check-ins out of the main app, but the new app showcases Foursquare's vision – the reason why they chose to split everything up.
Launching the new Foursquare app prompts a wizard of sorts wherein Foursquare asks you to give it some information on your tastes. If you've been using Foursquare for any amount of time, it already knows a little bit about you – but this sort of "taste" mapping is at the heart of the app's new recommendation focus. Based on what you like (revealed by activity and what you tell it specifically), Foursquare will recommend places you might like nearby.
"Every search is tailored to your tastes, your past ratings, and picks from friends and experts you trust," says Foursquare.
Tips are also at the heart of the new Foursquare. As promised, Foursquare has developed a new "expertise" ladder for tips. The more you tip about certain areas, types of locations, or varieties of cuisine – and the more people respond to your tips by saving them – the faster your "expertise" levels up. That expertise level will be displayed to all, so that people can feel a bit more comfortable in trusting your tips.
"Friends" are now "followers" (friends are for Swarm, ya dinguses). People who follow each other will have their tips placed more prominently in the app.
"There’s no reason why we should all get the same recommendations when looking for a place to eat, drink or shop. Getting a one-size-fits-all list of places may have been innovative in 2006, but it feels downright antiquated now," says Foursquare. "The new Foursquare frees you from having to read long, random reviews, wondering if those people share your tastes. With Foursquare, find things based on your tastes, the places you like, and the friends and experts you trust most."
So, what's Swarm's place in the world of new Foursquare? Not hugely prominent, but definitely present. Your check-ins on Swarm will help power Foursquare's recommendations – but as noted before, check-ins on Foursquare are dead. Not only can you not check in on it, your Swarm check-ins will never appear anywhere on the new Foursquare app.
"The world is a beautiful place full of all sorts of amazing experiences, and our phones should help guide us to them. We’re releasing it today, and can’t wait for everyone to experience it," says Foursquare.
How's the app look? Nice. It looks nice. Would it look or feel any more cluttered with check-ins and an activity feed. Probably not.
Image via Foursquare app, iTunes