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August 28th 2014 2:19 pm

How would you fix Swarm/Foursquare?

Back in May Foursquare announced that they were splitting their app into two, keeping place recommendations with the Foursquare while shunting check-ins over to a new app called Swarm. Now that the summer's almost over and we'd all had a few months to adjust to this new way of doing things, how's it going for you? Did you even install the new app, or are you holding out as long as possible? Did you uninstall Foursquare entirely? For those who have made the switch, what do you like about the new apps? And what would you change?

My issues:
  • It sucks that you can locate a place on Foursquare, then when you actually get to said place the app has to switch back to Swarm to let you check in. It's just silly that Foursquare says they split the apps because the two actions are separate when in this case, they're directly connected.
  • Recommendations aren't great. I've been doing the thing where I tell Foursquare what I like so I can get better recommendations, but it's not making much of a difference in the recommendations because Foursquare keeps listing the same five places near me anyway. This might be a restaurant density issue, as near my apartment is going to be more scarce than say, Greenwich Village or Williamsburg. But it's actually more important to me to find new places near where I live than when I'm in Manhattan or elsewhere in the city.
  • Search isn't great, either. I searched for "arcade" and instead of prioritizing actual arcades in the results, it gave me a list of places that had arcade machines. Not what I was asking for, Foursquare.
  • One of the ways I find new places I want to try is by looking at where my friends check in. Of course, now I have to be shunted from Swarm into Foursquare. It's really inconvenient because again, this is one of those times where place lookup and checkins were directly connected.
  • Lists need to be surfaced better; to find my lists I have to go to my to-do list first, then access my other lists. My to-do list would be too long and completely unusable if I put every place on it, but right now the separate lists are too hard to get to to be useful (it would be nice if the recommendations surfaced "this place is on X list" more).
  • Even with the updated app, Swarm still eats too much battery life.

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5 replies

I do like the ease of checking in on Swarm. It's a two click process most of the time, and that makes life simpler.

I would change basically everything else.
First, I would bring the original process of saying you are "with" someone back. I hate how it autofills a name AND uses an @, and then you're stuck with the "with______" in your post or it deleted who you're with. In Foursquare you could just select a name, and it would be good to go.

Next, their location services need a complete overhaul. Regularly, Swarm will think I'm in a completely different part of the city, or will spot me at a place a few blocks over at the closest, meaning I have to manually search for a location after that. This rarely happened in old Foursquare.

Finally, and you knew I was going to say this...merge the apps back. I HATE having to use two separate apps for something that is so tied into one another. Facebook I can tolerate because messaging someone is something different than looking at your timeline. But searching for a good place to eat, and then having to get booted out of an app just to check into the place you found is annoying. Plain and simple.

And there's less of a chance of me doing both what Foursquare and Swarm do at the same time since the switch. I know they want me to go back and forth. Now I do one or the other, and sometimes I simply do neither.
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Swarm checked me into the Baltimore Convention Center two weeks after I had last been there. When I was in New York.

(When I mentioned this on Twitter they told me to re-install the app. Which is not something I'm going to eat up my data on. Eventually the issue resolved itself without me having to delete or re-install anything.)
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I never installed Swarm and ultimately uninstalled Foursquare. It takes a certain kind of arrogance combined with stupidity, the kind that brings the world New Coke, to think that they can force users to use a new app by breaking their existing app.

The main reason to stop using both is that I had a relationship with Foursquare. I travel a lot, and I had been logging my travel both because collecting badges was fun and because the information was useful to me. When a friend asked me for a restaurant recommendation in Vienna, I was able to to through my Foursquare history and find my check-in and comments for the venues I liked. I can't do that anymore because now everything is stored in different places.

I left feedback at Foursquare and they actually responded (which was nice). The response basically said that they changed the interface for their own reasons, and they expect the users to change their habits to suit Foursquare. They also expressly stated that they plan to change many more features.

There isn't any point in maintaining my relationship with Foursquare; they're going to do what they want with the app and they don't really care why or how the users are using it. I've switched all my check-in history back to Facebook so I can actually get my own utility out of it. It is harder to search and it isn't gameified, but at least it works and I can do it all in one place.

Foursquare probably won't be around in another year or two, so I'll just keep using Facebook until the app that replaces Foursquare reveals itself.
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check-in was dumb. Why are people so obsessed with using check-in? I use foursquare to find cool new places and it handles that just fine! i would like to see it overthrow yelp in the food aspect of it, yet people only care about their stupid "check-in".
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I deleted both apps after using Swarm for awhile, and I just deleted my Foursquare account online. I wrote to them to see if I need to do the same with Swarm.
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