Tag Archives: Foursquare

Foursquare/Swarm: return of badges, and mayorships (but not yet)

It’s almost exactly a year since Foursquare changed from its old form, and introduced the Swarm app for checking in. Since then both apps have evolved, but when mayorships were removed, Foursquare lost one of its best features.

I’ve continued to use both apps, checking in on Swarm, and occasionally adding reviews etc on Foursquare.  I have more or less got used to the new system, but now change appears to be in the air!

Last week, Swarm’s update on Android included some quite big changes. Full details are here, but essentially old badges that you gained from checking in are back (but now called stickers), and when you check-in somewhere you can search through your stickers to see if there is one to add to a particular check-in. And you can get new stickers through checking in to particular places (it didn’t take me long to get a bar-related one, for example!) The local crown stickers, for the most check-ins at a location among your friends, seem to have gone, but they were pretty meaningless anyway. Finally, the blog promises that mayorships will return ‘soon’. It seems that (at last), the Foursquare team realised that they had missed a beat by withdrawing them. I look forward to their return!

Using Swarm and the new Foursquare app

I promised an update on using Swarm/Foursquare, and since I’ve been doing some travelling on the last week or so, I’ve had a chance to put both apps through their paces.

The first point is that I don’t use the actual Foursquare app much. I check in to places using Swarm, and only go into Foursquare to wrote reviews, or to check who else has checked in at a particular location.

Secondly, Swarm is easy to use, and seems to work better in poor signal locations than the old Foursquare did (which is definitely a situation that I encounter regularly). I would like more ‘stickers’ (which give information about what you’re doing at a given time, e.g. working or drinking coffee!), but apparently you unlock these by checking into different places.

So I conclude that it is still possible to use Swarm/Foursquare to record my travels, which was my main aim with the previous app. Adding reviews of places is something I’m happy to do. All the lists I set up are still there, and I can still add places to them. Having invested over 4 years in using the app there was no question of uninstalling it. (Many of the new features, like ‘plans’ on Swarm, and local search on Foursquare, are of no interest to me, so I don’t see myself using them).

I’m sorry about the loss of points and mayorships, but don’t see them coming back any time soon, sadly. Judging from the various discussion groups, the Facebook page etc., it seemed that a significant number of users were going to uninstall Foursquare, but whether this is enough to persuade the company to reverse some of these changes is questionable!  We’ll have to watch this space and see.

The new Foursquare Android app: initial reaction

The new Foursquare Android app became available from the Google Play Store last Wednesday, 6th August. I’ve been using it pretty continuously since then, and can offer an initial appraisal.

I’ve already discussed at length my disappointment that Mayorships, badges and (finally) points were lost, so I judge the app as it is and not as I hoped it might be!

For a start, checking in has to be done via Swarm. I held off using Swarm for as long as possible, but now I’ve used it for a bit I don’t mind it. At least it still taps into the Foursquare past checkin database, and comments when you return to a location, etc. That was essential for me, since I use Foursquare as a travel diary, and was one reason why there was no question of uninstalling Foursquare! The Swarm app itself seems nicely put together and I have no issues with it yet.

Returning to the Foursquare app, the emphasis is now on local search and writing tips and reviews of places. In general I don’t need local search as I normally know where I want to go (!), but I can see that it could be useful if I’m in a place I don’t know. As for writing reviews, I did a few with the old Foursquare, but now I will do more, since the app provides motivation with its expertise ratings.

I am just returning from 2 days in London, and while there I did a lot of check-ins and wrote some reviews. The experience was good, and Swarm and Foursquare do work seamlessly together.

Finally, the changes to Foursquare have changed my check-in habits. While there were points to be gained (and especially when there were Mayorships to retain), I would go out of my way to check in at lots of locations. Now that motivation has gone, I’m more sparing with check-ins, so it’s a less time-consuming process. I’m still sorry that the points have gone, but in general I can make the changes work for me.

I’m doing some more travelling next week, so I’ll have more opportunities to test the app. Expect an update in due course!

Waiting for the ‘new’ Foursquare …

While the wait for the new Foursquare continues, news comes that ‘gamification’ is being ‘reintroduced’ into the new app – details here. This sounds complicated, and how many users will engage with it is an open question! In the meantime, I’m continuing to check-in via Swarm, and getting my points tally on Foursquare (yes, this still works). What will be interesting to see is if it is still possible to find your points on the new app, and whether lists will be preserved (since there’s no sign of either of these on Swarm). I’ll be travelling quite a bit in the coming week, and normally this would be a ‘check-in fest’! But whether it still is remains to be seen.

Foursquare closes another door

With the latest update to its Android app, Foursquare now forces check ins to be done via Swarm (my workround involving uninstalling Swarm no longer works). This means that points are harder to get for frequently checked in locations. It’s still possible to get them if Foursquare itself recognises the location you’re at and invites a check in. But otherwise you have to check in via Swarm, and it’s a points lottery. It remains to be seen if, when the new Foursquare app is finally rolled out, it’s possible to earn points at all!

Another Foursquare workround

In my last post I mentioned that the latest update to the Android Foursquare app forces you to check-in using Swarm. The main problem with this is that you don’t always get points. I thought about this, and wondered about uninstalling Swarm to see if that would get Foursquare checking in back. Yesterday I tried it, and it works, at least for now. You keep getting requests to install Swarm, but they can be ignored!
So for now, and hopefully until the ‘new’ Foursquare app rolls out, this is a solution which at least enables points to be gained for all check-ins.

Foursquare: latest changes to the Android app

I have noticed that the latest ‘update’ to the Android Foursquare app, which I downloaded this morning, now forces you to check-in via Swarm. I had found a workround (see last post) which enabled Foursquare itself to still be used, and points to be obtained, but this no longer works.

Checking in via Swarm sometimes gives you points and sometimes doesn’t. It seems that the Foursquare team’s plan to remove points completely (as they have already done for mayorships) is taking effect. As I said before, this is a great pity. I’ll continue to use it to record where I travel, etc, but a lot of the fun of using it has gone.