Foursquare splits in two and launches new app to chase young rivals

The check-in based social networking site is dividing up its app as it dodges users' fears about location sharing and goes after local search sites like Yelp and Google.

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The Independent Tech

Foursquare is to split itself in two as the location-based social networking site looks to ditch its check-in based network and take on its new rivals.

The company will launch a new app, called Swarm, that will exist along with the current Foursquare app, chief executive Dennis Crowley told website The Verge.

Before the split, the app's main function is to allow users to check in to venues and find friends that are in the same area. When users open the app, they are greeted by an instruction to check in to their current location, which the company said put some users off using the service.

Swarm will help users find friends that are nearby and meet up with them, similar to Apple’s Find My Friends and Google’s Latitude, and will track users’ locations even when the app is closed. The locations will be less exact to avoid the fate of other similar apps, which saw users, who worried about widely broadcasting their location, to ditch the app.

The old Foursquare app has been completely rewritten, and will re-launch in the next month or so. It will not use check-ins, and instead look to take on local search companies like Yelp and Google.

The company has found that users tend to use the app either for finding friends, or finding business nearby, Crowley said. That led to splitting the app, and separating those two functions.

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