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Meet Swarm: Essentials on Foursquare
Meet Swarm: Essentials on Foursquare's New App

By Salvador Rodriguez
May 19, 2014 10:28AM

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The introduction of Swarm is the first part of a big Foursquare transition, where the company will be splitting its services into two apps: Foursquare for discovering places, and Swarm for checking in and keeping up with what your friends are up to. Swarm is being touted as "the fastest way to keep up and meet up with your friends."

Foursquare has released Swarm, a new smartphone app designed to replace the geolocation-based social aspects of the New York City start-up's original service.

Earlier this month, Foursquare announced that it would be splitting its services into two apps: Foursquare for discovering places, and Swarm for checking in and keeping up with what your friends are up to.

The company will be going through a big change this year, and the first part of the transition involves the introduction of Swarm, which arrived on Thursday for Apple iOS and Android devices. A Windows Phone version is also slated for release later this summer.

Swarm "is the fastest way to keep up and meet up with your friends. With Swarm, you can easily see who's out nearby and who wants to hang out later," Foursquare said in the description of its new app.

Here are the five major features in the new app that you should know about:

1. A New Kind of Mayorship

A few years back, Foursquare was all the rage because of its mayor feature. Users who checked into places most often were rewarded by being crowned the mayor of that location. The feature made Foursquare very addicting for some who would compete against their friends to become mayor of their favorite bar, restaurant or coffee shop.

But because of the growth Foursquare has experienced, the startup said it has become nearly impossible to unseat mayors at some locations because users must compete with everyone else who is on the service.

To fix that problem, Foursquare said Swarm users will only compete for mayorships against their friends. That means places will have multiple mayors, but Foursquare hopes this will make competing for mayorships fun again.

2. Stickers, But No Badges

With Swarm, Foursquare will be introducing a new feature called Stickers. When users check in, they are given the option to include a sticker with their post "to quickly express how you feel or what you're doing," Foursquare said.

Users will start out with a few stickers, but they'll be able to unlock more based on the places where they check in.

In a way, stickers are the consolation price for Swarm's exclusion of badges, one of Foursquare's beloved features. On Foursquare, users could unlock badges by checking into certain places (for example, checking into a graduation would give you the "Hats Off" badge).

But loyal users fret not: A new version of the badges feature will be introduced when the company rolls out the new version of the Foursquare app this summer. (continued...)

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© 2014 Los Angeles Times (CA) under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.

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