Swarm hits the iOS App Store

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Date: Friday, May 16th, 2014, 08:58
Category: Announcement, App Store, Apps, iOS, iPhone, Software

Swarmapp_logoWhat is Swarm, you ask? Swarm is the new iOS app from Foursquare that aims to separate the check-in functions of Foursquare that we all know and love, and stick them into a new app. Here is the App Store blurb explaining the app;

With Swarm, you can easily see who’s out nearby and who wants to hang out later.

Features:
- Want to meet up with friends? Quickly open up the app to see who is out nearby. 
- Want to share what you’re doing? Checking in is faster and more fun than ever.
- Got an idea for something fun to do? Easily message all of your nearby friends.

You are probably asking, “but doesn’t the Foursquare app do that already?”. The answer is mostly “yes”, but perhaps not for very much longer, or at least not in the form it is now. The social aspects of Foursquare will eventually be completely taken over by Swarm. Information about where your friends are, where they’ve been, mayorships, and other aspects will end up in Swarm, while the Foursquare app will concentrate on providing contextual information about things to do, or the best Indian restaurant close to you. The new Foursquare will be angled to compete with apps and services such as Yelp to help you find activities and provide information about them from the Foursquare community, the idea being that the check-in aspect of Foursquare was getting in the way of finding information about someplace. Rather than getting rid of the social benefits of checking-in completely, Foursquare is splitting it into a separate app and improving (hopefully) each type of experience.

There is a lot of information on Foursquare’s blog about the future of both apps, and they are also pointing users to The Verge which has some videos and more in-depth information on using the Swarm app. Having used the Swarm app for about a day myself, it doesn’t seem very different than checking in with the Foursquare app, but it looks like as more friends begin using the new app, some of the new features will become apparent. The most interesting to me is the “Plans” feature, assuming people use it, which allows you to broadcast to your friends where you’re going later and when, and if they want to join you they can respond in the app by pressing an “I’m interested” button. From there it appears to become a sort of chat group between everyone who has indicated their interest. This promises to be a convenient way to coordinate a social gathering without the hassle of group texting. Having not used it yet, I can’t tell is if there is a way to automatically link information about where you’re going, if a specific location, to Foursquare data so people can look it up directly from the Plan. If not, that would be an excellent addition to the app’s functionality.

Swarm_Plan-views

By the way, “Mayorships 2.0″ (as they call it) will now be between your friends instead of everybody on Foursquare, so you will no longer need to compete with that retired alcoholic that checks into your favorite bar every day and is essentially impossible to “de-throne” for all eternity.

Foursquare says it will be migrating, adding and improving the features of both apps over the coming months, so it may require a little patience to experience the big picture that Foursquare has, but the sooner you and your friends download and start using Swarm, the sooner we’ll all see why it’s worth it.

Think the functionality split is a good thing? Do you think Foursquare can compete with the likes of Yelp? Let us know in the comments or on the Facebook page.

 

 

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