Foursquare Announces New App, New Strategy

Foursquare is unbundling check-ins and discovery in an effort to compete with Yelp and gain mainstream adoption.


Check-in app Foursquare announced today that it was unbundling two features of its existing app: check-ins and discovery. The existing Foursquare app will re-launch as a dedicated Yelp competitor, while a new app called Swarm will focus on location. From the announcement:

We built Swarm because you’ve told us how often you still have to text your friends: “where are you?” and “what you up to later?” We wanted to build a quick way for you to know these two things for all of your friends. With Swarm, you can easily see which of your friends are out nearby, figure out who is up for grabbing a drink later, and share what you’re up to (faster and more easily than you can in Foursquare today).

Rather than pinpointing users on a map, Swarm will be geared towards “ambient awareness” of location – diminishing the creepy factor that may have stood in the way of mainstream adoption for check-in apps. Swarm is not available in the App Store yet, but you can sign up to be notified when it is.

Foursquare itself will concentrate on giving personalized recommendations. VP of product experience Jon Steinback told The Verge:

Yelp can’t do what we do. Yelp doesn’t need to be able to personalize for you because when you search for pizza on yelp, it shows you the top 10 pizza places. It’s not tailored to you. But if you’re on Foursquare and you search for pizza, we know if you like a greasy slice or the most-artisanal, perfect pizza in New York.

Do you think Swarm can gain mainstream adoption?

*image via Twitter