Foursquare Announces Split Into Foursquare and Swarm Apps

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Big changes are coming to Foursquare, the app that originated the mobile “check-in” while out on the town.

Foursquare has committed to some form of app meiosis, dividing the original Foursquare app into two distinct applications. One will be for keeping up with friends on the go and be called Swarm. The other, which will retain the Foursquare name, will act a bit like Yelp (NYSE:YELP) — as an app directory of places, but with ratings. The company said that the decision is based on user feedback about how people use the app.

A company dividing its business into multiple apps is not unusual as of late. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) recently spun off its messaging to the Messenger app, making users download a second app to continue using Facebook chat on their smartphones and tablets. And the company is planning to further unbundle the Facebook app. Cloud computing service Dropbox similarly split off its photo sharing into an app called Carousel. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) has several apps out on a variety of smartphones and tablets, reflective of its wide variety of offerings on a computer.

The trend seems to be taking one big app that provides a lot of services and breaking it down into two or more apps strictly dedicated to one feature of the original, larger app. Foursquare is only the latest company to take this route.

The company made the announcement in a blog post via the company’s official Tumblr blog in early May. The post talks about how users were using the current Foursquare app for two purposes: to find their friends and to check out places. The logic was that rather than try to have one app do two things, it would be the better choice to split the app into two separate entities.

“We built Swarm because you’ve told us how often you still have to text your friends: ‘where are you?’ and ‘what are you up to later?’ We wanted to build a quick way for you to know these two things for all of your friends. With Swarm, you can easily see which of your friends are out nearby, figure out who is up for grabbing a drink later, and share what you’re up to (faster and more easily than you can in Foursquare today),” the company said.

The post then goes on to explain that the Swarm app will be out in a few weeks. It will be available first for iOS and Android smartphones. A Windows Phone version will be out shortly after the initial release. Foursquare will continue to operate in its pre-split format until an update sometime this summer. This means, of course, that the days of Foursquare as it is now are numbered. No dates for Swarm’s release, nor for the new Yelp-completive Foursquare, have been released as of Monday.

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