An article on Search Engine Watch the other day spoke of major reform coming to the location based check-in app Foursquare. The company will cease to exist in its current form as it looks to split into two services. Foursquare is aiming to restructure themselves as a local discovery service so they will continue to explore that as under their current name and will launch a new service called Swarm for checking in.
So…what does that mean? It means more personalization and deeper local search functionality. According to their blog, the company compares the current state of local search to the Yellow Pages and they are looking to add “expert reviews,” not reviews from strangers.
Personalization seems to be the big focus for this change and may also be their undoing. Personalization does have its benefits but can be limiting when trying to discover anything new. If you’re constantly shown things based on “your tastes” and by “people you trust,” that limits the discovery of anything new outside of your happy little world.
Will the company survive?
It’s hard to say since Foursquare is solely identified with their check-in service how people will act to a drastic change like this. Introducing a new app that is just for checking in when every other social networking services already has that feature is going to be rough. They’re essentially going to have to reinvent the wheel if they plan on keeping engagement up.
My Two Cents
Initially I think the new Foursquare will do great as they already have the public’s interest however, I don’t think they’ll experience the longevity they’re looking for. People will swarm to it out of curiosity but I don’t think they’ll continue to use the service unless there is a huge benefit to do so. I really like Foursquare and hope that I’m wrong but I’m predicting a dismal road ahead.
As of today, August 6, 2014, foursquare is no longer the location based app we all grew to love but rather a recommendations app that is set to rival Yelp. Personally I don’t see this taking off as people miss the classic check-in service that foursquare previously offered. Sure there’s Swarm but how many people are using that?