Foursquare has been incredibly quiet since late last year. In December, the company touted 45 million users and $35 million in new funding–but since then they’ve made little to no waves. No major updates, and no big changes.
Well, now we know why. Today, Foursquare is announcing that they are splitting the core functions of the service into two separate apps–Foursquare for local discovery and a new app, Swarm, for check-ins and friend tracking. It’s a conscious uncoupling.
Yep. After years of saying they were “moving beyond the check-in,” Foursquare has finally done it…for real. To move beyond the check-in, all Foursquare had to do was pawn it off on an entirely separate app.
No entirely separate, in theory. Foursquare promised to use iOS and Android’s framework so that the two apps work seamlessly together–but this is still an unbundling of features. Soon (later this summer), a new Foursquare app will launch that puts no focus on checking in.
“In the near future, the Foursquare app is also going to go through a metamorphosis. Local search today is like the digital version of browsing through the Yellow Pages (remember those?). We believe local search should be personalized to your tastes and informed by the people you trust. The opinions of actual experts should matter, not just strangers. An app should be able answer questions like ‘give me a great date dinner spot’ and not just ‘tell me the nearest gas station.’ We’re right now putting the final touches on this new, discovery-focused version of Foursquare. It’ll be polished and ready for you later this summer,” says the company in a blog post.
Really, this is what Dennis Crowley and company have always wanted for Foursquare. Sure, it started as that check-in app, but Foursquare was over check-ins before most of us even knew how to check-in. Check-ins were simply a means to an end–to build a true local search, discovery, and recommendation app that could complete with the likes of Yelp. Last April, Foursquare made its biggest push to date into that territory with the launch of v6.0, which pushed search and discovery to the forefront of the app for the first time.
For the next year, Foursquare would make incremental changes to turn itself into a local search leader.
And now, the biggest shakeup to date sees Foursquare eliminating check-ins from its flagship app. Sure, check-ins aren’t dead–they’re over on Swarm and will “work seamlessly” with Foursquare. But the Foursquare name, the one attached to the main app, that’s the one Foursquare wants to become synonymous with places and recommendations. If you want to know the features that Foursquare really cares about, just look to the ones they kept on the app actually called “Foursquare.”
“Our company has always been about helping you keep up and meet up with their friends, and discover great places. Our two new, unbundled apps are designed to do that for everyone. Swarm is for people who want the fastest and easiest way to connect with their friends. Foursquare is for explorers who want to know about the best spots, and to share what they’ve found with others,” says Foursquare.
Swarm won’t just be about check-ins. According to an early look available on The Verge, Swarm appears to be friend-centric, allowing users to spot locations of buddies and even share plans with each other.
Swarm will launch in the coming weeks, and if you want to keep checking-in you can sign up here to be notified of its availability. The new, check-in stripped Foursquare will launch later this summer.