Foursquare is trying its best to convince the world that it is no longer the type of service it used to be back in the early days. Back in 2009, Foursquare launched as an app that allowed users to check in their favorite locations around the world. That allowed the service to create millions of followers, some of which who still uses the service to date.

However, Foursquare is no longer just an app for playing the check-in game and becoming Mayor of your hometown. The company plans to split the app in two, one for check-in, and the other, which is called Swarm, for local search. Just think of it as Yelp, but with far greater user data that should allow for better results.

"I think mobile forced this fundamental switch. We were born in mobile but we were born in this idea that each mobile app was kind of like a web property bundled up for mobile," says Jon Steinback, Foursquare's VP of product experience, in an interview with The Verge. "And as mobile usage has broadened and evolved you get individual experiences instead. You open an app to do a specific task and not as a gateway to a large complicated experience."

As it stands, Foursquare is going after the Yelp user base, and it should not have much difficulty becoming the top player in the local search space since Yelp only works in a handful of countries. Due to Foursquare's check-in feature, locations and businesses from all across the world is a part of the company's data, so wherever you are, it should be possible to find a great place to have a drink.

When it comes to Swarm, this new app is quite similar to Facebook Places and Google Latitude, but with a key differentiator. For example, users will have the option to tell friends exactly where they are, or just give a general area, such as "Half Way Tree" in St. Andrew.

This is great thinking from the developers because not every time users wish to have their photo pop up on a map, giving away their exact location because this isn't safe, especially if many of those on your friends list are not folks you truly know. Moreover, let's be honest about this, many users on Foursquare accept friend requests from total strangers.

While the idea is good, the developers have one major hurdle. What is the plan of action to educate users of the new Foursquare app, and why they will need to download two different apps to perform the same tasks they used to do in one.

Some users view Foursquare as both an app for local search, and for check-ins. However, we believe the majority are only using the app to gain badges and to check-in, totally not seeing the bigger picture of what Foursquare is about.

The new apps will first be released for Android and iOS. A Windows Phone version will come at a later date.

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