With its latest app update, Foursquare flips off the check-in feature making a hard transition to Swarm and removing the social aspect to their trademark location based service. Mainstream daily use of Foursquare never fully caught on and after 5 years they have decided to make the social location sharing element its own app to instead refocus Foursquare as a nearby venue discovery. Now instead of being able to check-in on Foursquare, users are swapped over to the Swarm app to complete their social status update.
As an early adopter of Foursquare myself with a ridiculous amount of check-ins, tips, venue additions, the forced transition was rather unhelpful. I’m not alone as the user app store reviews on both Swarm and Foursquare have been increasingly negative. Shutting off the check-in functionality through an app update was done in an annoying fashion with continued prompts to download Swarm. Early gamification features such as mayorships and badges have also been deprecated.
When traveling to New York or other cities, Foursquare is a handy service to find the best nearby coffee shop or to know what to order of the menu, but the daily connection with hometown friends has to been lost. The move to location based tips may be the best long term company decision, but personally after 5 years with Foursquare I decided to leave both apps all together. Initially I felt out of the loop, but was able to quickly reconnect with friends easily enough through today’s more popular mobile messaging apps.
Foursquare’s split decision ultimately seems pressured in trying to keep attention worthiness in the shifting mobile space. Their second app, Swarm, come years after other mobile apps unveiled similar friends nearby functionality and lacks the fun spontaneity compared to other headline apps.