So I’m just going to jump right into this one Foursquare and Swarm suck. I’m not really sure whose idea was it to do this but it was a bad one and they clearly didn’t say it out loud to themselves when they decided to go with this.
Now I’ve felt this way for a while about this. Foursquare deciding this past May to separate their check-in feature from the main app to another app called Swarm just didn’t make a lot of sense to me when I first heard it but when our friend Tori from Glasses & Glitter decided to air her own distaste and eventual deletion of the Foursquare and Swarm I became influenced to speak out.
Now I know Foursquare is a business and they need to make money so I was willing to give the two app system a try to give them the benefit of the doubt because you never really know and it could have worked out for the better but it was just poorly executed.
When I first got Foursquare it was a fun way to check-in and let your friends, family and stalkers know where you are and burglars know when you’re not home. (Although some liked to check-in at home which was even more dangerous.) But it was cool to see how many badges you could earn, how many mayorships you could keep up or keep and it was an easy way to find new places and share tips in cities that you are not too familiar with. It’s great for finding that fun new restaurant, cool new bar or club and for those that drink coffee (which I don’t) find the new coffee shop with the latest craze going on and sometimes there is a special or a coupon available from the business which was always great to find and made me want to check in more just to see if there is a new deal available. It was also great to see at the end of the year an interactive map showing all the places that you have traveled that year. This was always a favorite of mine to look at since being a tech blogger keeps you travelling to many places throughout the year.
But since the split to two apps I’ve seen not only my own but many of my friends check-in usage drop drastically. Many complained about have to have two apps just to check in. Many didn’t like the recommendations notification that would pop up when they are near a popular area. It felt like spam a lot of the times and unwanted. You can disabled in the settings but this doesn’t always work consistently as Tori pointed out. For Swarm to check you in it has to find your current location first and I’ve found it to be either 100% accurate and fast or extremely slow and fail to find the right place you are in. It’s improved over time but it’s just not the experience you want as a veteran Foursquare user.
I believe Foursquare decided to separate the apps to have two separate streams of data coming in which allows them to monetize on these two streams in different ways. This most likely allows businesses to be featured in both and choose the level they want to be featured in. Gives a chance for big budget business and small budget ones to be able to advertise afford ably through Foursquare. Now I don’t know their business model exactly so this is just what I’m assuming but this decision came at the cost of compromising the user experience which is something that should always be considered before big changes like this are made. It just doesn’t seem like that was a though here.
Foursquare is a beautiful app and they should focus on just that one app and bring the check-in feature back in and completely eradicate Swarm. This will make many users happy and honestly its just makes far more sense. It’s better to have a ton of people using one app then no one use two apps you have.
So to put it simply to Foursquare. Your two app idea sucks! Deal With IT!