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Foursquare has updated its Swarm app with a feature it calls an “important one.” Starting today, besides checking into places and competing for points against your friends, you now have access to an analysis of all that data. With “lifelogging,” you can see what story your check-ins have to tell.
The main update takes place within your Swarm profile. It has now become more visualized, presenting you with an analysis of past check-ins such as top place categories, which friends you’ve been hanging out the most with, and other streaks. There’s also a map at the top of the screen that shows you the check-ins by country.
You can look up activity based on the last 60 days or for all time. It’s not just a top-level overview, either — Foursquare allows you to dive deeper into your history. One of my top categories is airports (thanks to South by Southwest) and when I tap on that segment, it narrows to show me top sub-categories such as airport lounges, planes, and gates, From there, you can go an additional level down to see the specific check-ins made. Want to boast about your activities to your friends? There’s a sharing option where you can post things to Facebook and Twitter.
To keep you up-to-date on what’s going elsewhere in the world of check-ins, Foursquare has added a recap feature to Swarm that will send you weekly updates on your friends, such as mayorships lost, where your friends have been in the past seven days, popular events, tips, new stickers, and more.
“As a consumer that uses various feeds, you can’t see everything,” Jonathan “J” Crowley, Foursquare’s vice president of product, told VentureBeat. He means that we’re absorbed in multiple social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, email, Slack, and LinkedIn that it may be difficult for you to notice every check-in by your friends in real time. That’s the reason for this newsletter.
Swarm’s concept is pretty simple: Check in to wherever you are and let your friends know. To hook you and reel you in, the company included gamification elements like a leaderboard, points, mayorships, and stickers. They then decided to take all of the data collected from the millions of check-ins and present it back to user “in a meaningful way.”
Crowley assured us that the game mechanics will remain in Swarm, but that the lifelogging elements are intended to appeal to a new type of user. His team has spent years researching how to make check-in data more appealing to people, and what they settled on was lifelogging, something that Crowley believes will attract those passionate about the quantified self.
There are more than 8 million check-ins made each day within the Swarm app, with 8 billion to date. The addition of lifelogging can give you a sense of what’s going on in your daily life. Perhaps you will realize you’ve been visiting bars more frequently, or going to a friend’s house not as often — is there a story being told here? Should you be rethinking what you’re doing and rekindling connections?
To facilitate this storytelling, Foursquare has tweaked the way it treats photos in Swarm so that they now appear full-width across the screen and are more prominent. Privacy settings have been updated as well.
In a way, I find lifelogging a welcome addition to Swarm. After just checking in for so long, I felt that there needed to be something else to keep me in the app. It felt so temporary: You check in when you’re at a different place and then move on to another app. There was no conclusion to all the activity. These new features are an interesting addition.
Of course, lifelogging is also a good way to show users that Foursquare is still updating Swarm instead of simply taking the aggregate data and using it for monetization purposes with the company’s ad products.
The latest version of Swarm is the first significant product release under Jeff Glueck, who took over as CEO earlier this year following Foursquare’s $45 million investment round from Union Square Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Morgan Stanley, and others.
The latest Swarm updates are available for both iOS and Android.
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