Popular for its check-in capabilities, Foursquare has announced that it will no longer enable users to utilize the check-in feature via the main application, opting instead to compete with local discovery services such as Yelp in an effort to appeal to a wider audience. Undergoing a major rebranding process last week, the social media company unveiled a new logo and a refreshed interface for the main application.
If users attempt to check-in at places such as restaurants and parks, they will be redirected to Foursquare’s secondary app, Swarm.
Although Swarm has been available on app markets for a couple of months, mobile users still had the opportunity to announce their location to the world via the main Foursquare platform. Within the relatively new Swarm app, users have the ability to check-in, collect badges, and utilize other features they have become comfortable with over the years.
As per the company’s official blog, this is the beginning of the “personalized local search future” Forusquare has been itching to launch since its inception. Dating back to the company’s launch date back in March 2009, the application has amassed a wealth of user data in the form of check-ins, tips, and recommendations. Foursquare hopes to leverage both past and current user data to shape unique suggestions tailored to each individual user. For example, users will be able to shape their own profiles and receive recommendations for restaurants based on their preferred tastes, providing a personalized set of local results. It’s evident that with this move, Foursquare is ready to cement its position within the local discovery sector and compete against giants such as Yelp and Google.
This is certainly an interesting pivot for the social media platform, especially considering it had developed quite a fruitful base of users as a standalone check-in application. However, one can deduce that with the recent funding received from Microsoft, a new investor, this move is an attempt to become a legitimate force within the local discovery sector. Microsoft most likely views Foursquare’s anticipatory push notifications and location technology as the crown jewel of local discovery. If Foursquare can continue to perfect the personalization of local search and amass even more consumer data to fine tune recommendations, Microsoft has a lot to gain for its own local products.
Time will tell if Foursquare made the right decision, but it should be interesting to see the developments unfold in the coming months.