Foursquare unleashes Swarm: a separate app for check-ins

Foursquare is taking a page from Facebook and splitting its app in two. Soon the main app will be focused purely on search, reviews and finding places to get a decent meal. A second offering, Swarm, will focus more on the social aspects and give users an easy way to see where their friends are and quickly make plans with them, without having to send a separate text message. Basically the check-in, the heart and soul of Foursquare, is getting its own separate app. If you ask the company, it was a tough decision to split their efforts in two, but the truth is that it has failed to evolve as quickly as other sharing services. Simply checking-in to a location is no longer enough, especially when Facebook, Google+ and Yelp all have some form of the feature built in. Swarm narrows the focus to create a truly location-based social platform, not unlike Dodgeball -- the service created by Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley before it was snatched up by Google.

While Swarm will be bringing its social heat map to iOS, Android and Windows Phone in the near future, the mainline Foursquare app will be undergoing a complete re-imagining. In roughly a month a new version will launch that will be squarely targeted at Yelp. The streamlined app will stop nagging people to check-in, and will instead focus on local search and reviews. It will include reviews from professionals, not just your friends, and will bring-yelp like natural search to the table. Now instead of just pulling up the nearest coffee shop, you'll be able to ask for a "romantic" dinner spot. Of course, there's danger in splitting your services this way -- just ask Qwikster Netflix.