Yesterday Foursquare pushed its new app, Swarm, to the iTunes and Google Play stores, revealing to the world what it had been teasing for weeks: a tool to help you connect with friends globally, in a way that’s more socially-driven than the Foursquare we’ve long known and loved. Swarm differs from Foursquare by focusing on interactions, and not solitary check-ins or points, which were hardly being used in the competitive, socially-charged way that had once been intended.
Gone are the traditional mayorships (they were too challenging to obtain) and badges (too easy). In their place are stickers, which help you emote alongside your check-in (think: a sticker that says you’re ravenous or excited alongside a check-in at French Laundry). A new take on the mayorship, Mayors 2.0, lets you compete with your friends—and only your friends—for the crown of loyalty. And a few completely novel features let you check into neighborhoods, find friends nearby, or pinpoint things you’d be interested in doing sometime in the near future. It all adds up to a more robust experience when you’re on the road: by putting the emphasis on who’s around you, the app will make it easier than ever to reconnect with old friends on your travels, and harness the power of our ever-growing global networks. As for the mother app? We expect to see some changes in the coming months. Stay tuned for more as it unravels.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.