Foursquare’s new Swarm app is a less creepy Find My Friends

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Foursquare is reinventing itself, and a new app called Swarm is the first piece of the puzzle.

Launched today in the App Store, Swarm is a tool for finding friends based on their general location and check-ins. While Apple’s Find My Friends pinpoints you exactly on a map, Swarm takes a different, more friendly approach.

The days of the main Foursquare app as we known it are numbered, and Swarm is step one of the company’s new strategy for location-based social networking. Swarm is about knowing where your friends are. A completely redesigned Foursquare app centered around check-ins is in the works to complement Swarm, and it should be out in the coming weeks.

Swarm displays where your friends are based on check-ins and neighborhoods. The idea is to be able to see who in your area is available for drinks at a certain place. There’s a built-in messaging system that’s meant to help get the ball rolling on a group’s plans to go out.

(Click on each thumbnail for full-res screenshots.)

The closest you can get to knowing someone’s exact location is within 500 feet, and that’s only if you check in somewhere specific.

You can search your entire check-in history, temporarily hide your location, and share statuses based on where you are in Swarm. Find My Friends is cold and calculating, while Swarm is designed to look warm and fun.

As always, this kind of app is going to live or die based on the engagement it sees in urban areas. If you’re looking for a less creepy version of Find My Friends, give it a try.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a journalist and co-host of The CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." He lives in Lexington, Kentucky. If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Follow him on Twitter.

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