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Foursquare debuts Swarm app to find your friends

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AP/Foursquare

Foursquare is dividing into two. The company has announced a new app called Swarm that will take over the check-in portion of its service along with plans to revamp the original Foursquare into an intuitive discovery and recommendation service.

Swarm will be ready on iOS and Android in the coming weeks, with a Windows Phone version to follow. 

According to Foursquare, it built Swarm because users told the company that they were tired of having to text their friends to learn about their whereabouts or upcoming plans. The app will let you quickly see which of your friends are out nearby and share what you’re doing.

The company decided to split up its two main functions — discovery and checking in — based on data it gleaned from monitoring activity on its app. Only five percent of people on Foursquare opened the app to find friends and a restaurant, while the rest of the time they were only looking for one of the two. 

The revamped, discovery-focused Foursquare app will be ready this summer. On its blog, the company said it believes the app will be able to give recommendations that add value based on expert opinions (i.e. “Give me a great date dinner spot”) rather than just finding all the restaurants around you.

Foursquare will make use of its existing database of 5 billion check-ins to map out more than 60 million places around the world. Using location-sensing data, such as your device’s GPS, cell tower triangulation or Wi-Fi networks, the new Foursquare will guess where you are even if you don’t check in.

Over time, the app will learn from your behavior and start making recommendations based on that information. For instance, according to The Verge, if you take your phone to several Japanese restaurants over a few months, Foursquare will start serving up recommendations for Japanese food without you having to check in.

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