Foursquare has made the decision to split itself into two distinct apps. One will continue to be called Foursquare and will be used for discovering new venues, while the other will be called Swarm and will be used for "checking into" locations.
These changes come from the realization by the company that their app is generally used for two reasons - meeting up with friends or discovering new places to go. However, through analysis, the company has determined that it is rare for users to do both at the same time. The concept behind splitting these functions into two separate apps is to allow those who simply want to keep up with friends to do this more quickly and efficiently.
Foursquare explained their intentions in their recent blog announcement. "We built Swarm because you've told us how often you still have to text your friends: 'where are you?' and 'what are 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)."
The new two-app approach is the latest attempt by Foursquare to find a sustainable business model. The startup chose to enter into a deal in February that siphons Foursquare location data into Microsoft's Bing search in exchange for a $15 million investment into the company.
The new Foursquare app will continue to include local search, but the company also plans to increase the personalization of its app. "We believe local search should be personalized to your tastes and informed by the people you trust," Foursquare wrote in its recent blog post. "The opinions of actual experts should matter, not just strangers."
The concept of separating apps into distinct services is becoming more and more common recently. For example, Facebook has created separate apps for news discovery, messaging and photography. Google has also recently announced separate apps for creating documents and spreadsheets, which are pulled out of its full-service Drive app.
Foursquare explains their intentions further on their blog post, stating that, "Our company has always been about helping you keep up and meet up with friends, and discover great places. Our two new, unbundled apps are designed to do that for everyone. 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 two apps have been built to work seamlessly together...and we can't wait until both apps are in your hands."
Swarm will be released on iOS and Android within a few weeks and will later be released on Windows Phone. The new version of the Foursquare app will be available later this summer.