Last week Foursquare announced it was splitting its app in two, dedicating a new app called Swarm to check-ins and social broadcasts in order to streamline the core Foursquare app into a more user-friendly local discovery and recommendation engine. With a week left until Swarm’s release, Foursquare has taken to their blog again to detail some of the feature changes contained within the new app.
The blog post serves as an admission to and inventory of the problems Foursquare is attempting to solve with the app split. Simply put, many of the features that made Foursquare compelling with 50,000 users are simply broken at over 50,000,000 – features like points and leaderboards, badges, and even mayorships.
The release is an opportunity to revise each feature around Swarm’s more social focus: points will be replaced with user insights similar to those currently found in Foursquare; badges make way for stickers, which can be earned and used to attach a personal touch to check-ins (note: the new version of Foursquare promised this summer will feature a “spiritual successor” to badges). Foursquare indicates that v2.0 of Mayors will allow different location mayorships for each circle of friends, rather than one just one across the whole app. As part of the switch, mayorships in the Foursquare app are currently locked until the new system is released.
Change is hard for any service, especially for one that is splitting in two. Hopefully these changes will give the Foursquare faithful more of what made the app initially so novel and fun while eliminating the stale features that outlasted their welcome.