Swarm Repositions As A Social Bookmarking Tool For Your Favorite Spots



In a Medium post, founder & executive chairman Dennis Crowley explains what’s in store for Swarm 5.0.


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Swarm, formerly Foursquare, has launched version 5.0 and doubled down on “life-logging” as the primary user behavior from which the app is built around. They even have a new tagline: “Remember everywhere.”

In a Medium post, founder Dennis Crowley (who now serves as executive chairman of the company), explained the evolution of Foursquare to Swarm to Swarm in its current iteration. The biggest change: the app now puts your personal history front in center, meaning that it’s less about stalking your friends’ location and more about storing and revisiting your own favorite spots.

When Foursquare launched at SXSW in 2009, the predominant use case was for conspicuously declaring your whereabouts to friends (and perhaps even total strangers, depending on your share preferences). It was about seeing and being seen, and it was one of the first apps to strategically tie your social activity to things you were doing in the real world.

The big insight today, per Crowley, is that the pace of social media and sheer amount of content we create makes it near impossible to keep track of it all. Do you remember what you tweeted two Thursdays ago? Can you recall that bar your soccer team used to frequent five years ago? Probably not.

“We all create so much content on our phones every day that there’s almost no way to archive and organize it all, nevermind take the time to reminisce about it,” he wrote.

The pivot makes sense. Anyone who has used Swarm over time can relate to using your history to recall that fantastic hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant you found on a business trip, or perhaps that amazing club you stumbled upon in Paris. The problem was that it was relatively tedious, albeit not impossible, to dig through your data to surface those gems.

With the new UX, your log of activities and travels are front and center—not to mention, much easier to search for and resurface.

The release of Swarm 5.0 comes a little over a month after embattled Snapchat’s release of “Snap Map,” a location-powered map of your friends’ locations. The update felt a lot like Foursquare, which is no surprise since it leverages Foursquare data to power it. In fact, over the past couple of years Foursquare has become a quiet, albeit powerful, source of data for companies like Twitter, Reddit, Uber and even Nielsen.

Will the update court back users who abandoned the app after its split with Foursquare, and attract new users around the new experience? Time will tell.

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