Foursquare as we know it today won’t be the same in coming days. The company analysed its massive user database last year in an internal project aimed at getting more and more users to fully use its services (discovery and checkins) and found that only less than 5% of all its users actually use its app to discover new places. This proved somewhat of a challenge as Foursquare the app we know today has grown to include a huge user experience centred on the ability to discover new places and not just check in to announce to the world where you are.
As such, Foursquare is splitting up its app into two. There will be the check-in part which will be handled by a new app, Swarm, and there will be the discovery part which is what will be handled by the remainder of the app that will retain the name ‘Foursquare’.
After gathering data from about 5 billion check-ins, the company is now able to map out accurately at least 60 million locations and points of interests. This is what informs the company’s belief that it is well suited to tell you which new place to try out next time you’re looking for where you can take your new girlfriend out. For those that simply want to check-in to a place, Swarm should do just fine.
This move by Foursquare comes on the back of an announcement by Facebook of its new “Nearby friends”. How will the two compare? We’ll have to wait to find out but since Foursquare was hardly touched by Facebook’s foray into the check-in business, I doubt this will have an impact on them.
Swarm will be available for iOS and Android in “a few weeks” and land on Windows Phone thereafter. The new Foursquare app will be available at least a month later.