Foursquare Cuts Itself in Half to Form Swarm

It's a tale of two apps, and Foursquare has decided to streamline its business by making yesterday's check-ins fodder for its new check-in app, Swarm. Foursquare will be more geared toward discovering new venues or communities.

“Listen, the point of the company, this whole thing, was never to build an awesome check-in button,” Foursquare chief executive Dennis Crowley told The Verge. “That’s not the thing we got out of bed and said, that we wanted to build the most awesome check-in button in the world!”  

Perhaps not, but in 2009 it was enough of a novelty that millions of people did just that. However, five years later and that check-in app is a bit passe.

Everyone can find you and your smartphone -- including the NSA, so it seems as if Foursquare had to reinvent itself as a social search engine relying on comments and reviews of its members as a quasi-geographical Yelp. The problem was creating a product that would allow audiences to find both friends and discovering new place -- and that was the problem. Its users didn't seem to want a mixed app, so Foursquare decided to tear them apart.

Swarm is signing up users now but it lacks the direct location offered by other ambient apps such as Banjo or Sonar, according to The Verge. It's also meant for friends rather than strangers or acquaintances and only gives basic geographic information, although users still have to share their locations.

The new Foursquare is set to debut in the "near future" but has been referred to as a the "Yelp-killer" by Foursquare employees. It's also meant to double, triple or quadruple Foursquare's profits once launched. In the last five years, the startup has learned about monetization and thinks it has a product to eat up Yelp's ad dollars. We'll see if it does.

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