Foursquare's Swarm gets statistical in huge 4.0 update

Once upon a time, "checking in" was the hip thing to do back when social networks were really young. Foursquare was practically the only service that let you tell the world, or hopefully just your friends, where you're at and how great the pasta is there. Eventually, the likes of Facebook and Twitter gained similar functionality, forcing to Foursquare to redefine its purpose. It spun off Swarm to focus on that use case. Now at version 4.0, the service has tacked on some features that turns Swarm into a sort of lifelogging partner as well.

Checking in via social media was both natural and puzzling. It was the modern day, real-time Internet equivalent of the old "John was here" vandalism. Over time, however, simple declarations of presence in gave way to more meaningful, more content-oriented reviews that are actually more useful to friends as well as other users in the network. Foursquare decided to focus its main brand on that use case while Swarm remained focus on checking in and discovering friends nearby or areas nearby where friends checked in.

That said, checking in still has its uses, but perhaps not by itself. It can become part of a bigger whole that lets users review their habits and trends. In other words, it can become part of the larger activity now generally called "lifelogging". Swarm 4.0's new features lets you look back at your check ins according to category, letting you glean whether you're spending more time at the pub than at the gym.

That's not the only new feature in the latest update, however. The app now also displays photos in a better layout, turning Swarm into a makeshift travel photoblog. And keeping with its original "spy on your friends" purpose, Swarm 4.0 also introduced Weekly Recaps to summarize your friends' most notable check ins for that week.

Swarm 4.0 is rolling out now to both Android and iOS users.

SOURCE: Foursquare