2 years ago, i downloaded the foursquare app from the ovi store (AKA nokia store) and since then i have been checking in to everywhere i go. In short, foursquare has changed my life (literally), it has been an amazing journey so far. Earlier this month, the folks over at The Verge (most awesome site ever!) posted an exclusive interview with the Foursquare team about swarm. Apparently foursquare thinks that earning points and gaining mayorships is becoming stale and I have to agree with that. Other than the special occasions where I try to outpace somebody on foursquare, most of the time I really don’t care much about the points. On Friday, the hounds were released and Swarm landed on the App Store and Google Play Store (coming to the Windows Phone store in Summer).
Swarm is part of foursquare’s master plan to break foursquare into two apps. With swarm, the company is trying to reimagine the check in and also to cut out unnecessary details like points and mayorships. Just think of swarm as a foursquare which does not show any details other than check-ins. This new app ultimately looks and feel completely different from the current foursquare app, from the orange colored them to the tabbed interface. The idea behind Swarm is that it want’s to be your one-stop destination to locate where your friends are. One of the new features in swarm is the neighborhood sharing feature which is pretty nifty…when it works. It’s something like the usual foursquare timeline of check ins but the twist here is that your friend’s check in are categorized according to the distance they are from your last check in. Well at first I didn’t quite understand what was this feature all about but after some fiddling I found out that it was basically a way to share where you are and of course there is also an option for you to not disclose your current location. I have to say, during the two days which I have been using this app the feature is either a hit or a miss. When it works, the check ins are categorized perfectly with the time parameters but when it doesn’t the check ins seem to always be within the 150 metre radius. Anyways this is just an optimization problem and in time this feature would work like a charm.
"there's a little too much of orange"Plans is yet another new feature which is something like a built in twitter in which you can write what you’re planning to do next or to plan an outing with your friends. I’ve really not used this feature yet but I recollect that it might come in handy sometime in the future because who knows? anything is possible. Besides the funky new way to locate your friends and divulge your upcoming travel plans, swarm is deep down just a more “check-in” centric version of foursquare. However, there are a few nifty inclusions for your check ins, for example you can now add a small sticker to your profile picture when you check into a place to show your mood or feelings. Well at first you are only served up with a couple of stickers and foursquare said that more stickers will unlock as you check in to different places. The new fullscreen check in window paired up with a much larger font is yet another good inclusion, with this I can no type quite a few sentences. I’m still in the midst of finding out how to unlock more stickers but I’m sure to find out how sooner or later.
The app itself is really quite a mystery, other than introducing you to the two new features it never really shows how to actually check in to a place. When I first opened the app I was really baffled by what was I supposed to do with the app, but after a few random clicks I finally found out how to check in to a place and that’s it. Another thing which I felt peculiar is the absence of a settings menu and no matter hoe many times I spam the menu button on my phone nothing pops up. At that moment I felt really misled because there is basically only 4 tabs and none of them either took me to the settings or my profile. Little did I know that to view your profile you would need to go to the main tab and click on your profile picture and after that all was pretty much revealed because there is also a cog on the top right corner which signified the settings menu. Somehow I think there are still a few hidden gems within the application.
“We’ve also hidden a few other surprises in the app, but we’ll let you find those…”Well that’s all for what I can say about the app today, my full review of this application will be coming after foursquare reveals the new foursquare app and hopefully by then things should look more clearer and the app will be more stable. That’s is for today’s article, do follow us at our social media pages (Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram) to get immersed with the latest tech news, trends and also so you don’t miss any future coverage of Foursquare’s swarm app at our blog.