With its latest move, Foursquare targets both Facebook and Yelp. Its newly launched app, Swarm, displays nearby friends and lets you check-in, while the redesigned Foursquare app will focus solely on reviews, Yelp-style.
The split resulted after Foursquare discussed with [some of] its users and realized that the two most frequent things people do with the company’s mobile app are distinct enough to be featured in distinct apps.
In a recent blog post, the company commented that “It turns out, each time you open the app, you almost always do just one of those things. At home, you might be searching for a place for dinner. After dinner, you are probably looking to see what friends nearby are up to.”
Foursquare explains in the same blog post the reasons behind designing the swarm app: “An app should be able to answer questions like ‘give me a great date dinner spot’ and not just ‘tell me the nearest gas station’. 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.”
The habit of splitting bundled features into distinct apps isn’t new. Facebook removed its chat capabilities from its main app and encouraged people to install the Messenger app instead. There is yet another similarity to Facebook in Foursquare’s case: the social network launched recently a new feature called Nearby Friends. While the name says it all, this was a clear sign that Facebook is ready to focus more on location-based features beyond its check-ins. Finding out which of your friends is nearby seems to be a hot topic, so Foursquare rushed in to exploit it, as well.
What will happen with the old Foursquare app? Well, according to the blog, “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. 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.”
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