Swarm by Foursquare: checking-in with our first impressions

Swarm, the standalone app from Foursquare, is now out for Android and iOS. The app, which takes a bit of the kitsch from Foursquare, adds a real-time layer to checking in and meeting up. You can still check in, but it gets a lot deeper than that.

The uniqueness of Swarm comes from a constant location management, wherein it will note your location at all times — if you let it. The location awareness feature is also really easy to turn off (just swipe from the top bar, and it toggles on or off). That sounds odd, but it's great for meeting up with friends, which is the goal of Swarm. You are at the coffee shop, and your friends can now swarm to you.

The check-in remains, so we've not lost anything, but it's that much easier to get together with Swarm. "Nearby Plans" gets people engaged, as friends can commit to hanging out, and it opens up a conversation. The important thing to remember with Swarm is that it's heavily reliant on location awareness, and even more reliant on keeping activity local.

In that vein, you won't see what's going on around you when Swarm's location service is turned off — which makes it a bit less fun. It's also meant for those who have friends in their immediate vicinity, so if that's you, great. If not, Swarm won't hold a lot of value unless others engage with you via check-in.

The app is available now via the App Store and Play Store, so grab it if you like. We will caution that it's actually named "Swarm by Foursquare", so type that in to find it straight away. Simply entering "Swarm" brings up a litany of oddball games and other apps.