Foursquare is reinventing itself by getting rid of its famed check-in feature. Kind of.
The New York City startup Thursday announced that it will be splitting up its geo-based social networking and local search services into two apps: Foursquare for discovering places and Swarm for checking in and seeing what your friends are up to.
"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," Foursquare said in a blog post.
As the app stands now, many smartphone owners do not take advantage of everything Foursquare has to offer, the company said. Many either use the app socially or to discover new places to visit, but not both.
By creating a second app, Foursquare is hoping to highlight both of these services and spur user growth.
The company said that it will release an update to the Foursquare app this summer that emphasizes its local search abilities and plays down the check-in feature.
With this change, Foursquare hopes to position itself as a more serious rival to Yelp and other local search and discovery apps.
"We believe local search should be personalized to your tastes and informed by the people you trust," Foursquare said. "The opinions of actual experts should matter, not just strangers'. An app should be able answer questions like ‘give me a great date dinner spot’ and not just ‘tell me the nearest gas station.’"
To ease users into this major change, Foursquare will initially give them the option to revert the app back to its current state after they've received the update. But in the long term, Foursquare will roll out "really big improvements" and continue to fade out the social aspects of its app.
Instead, those functions of Foursquare will be found on the new app.
On Swarm, users will be able to share what they're doing and see what their friends are up to more easily than they can on the current Foursquare app, the company said.
Swarm is set to be released for Apple iOS and Android "in the coming weeks" as well as Windows Phone later on.