SOCIAL media app Foursquare announced a major rebranding, shifting its app away from "checking in" at certain locations around the world, and focusing more on helping users search for nearby places. It also trotted out a new logo.
The company's re-brand aims to better compete with local search platforms like Yelp and Google Places.
"The local search is broken," said Jon Steinback, Foursquare vice president of product experience. "We realized that we had the ability to change that, so we went for it."
The change is so drastic that Foursquare, which has 50 million users, created a separate app called Swarm in May to allow users to continue using the check-in feature.
"(Splitting into two apps) stems from a product decision based on data," Steinback said. "We found that certain people used Foursquare to search for places or check in, but very few did both. Those two uses drifted further and further apart, so we decided to split them."
Swarm will apparently "work seamlessly" with Foursquare, the company says, allowing users to use Swarm's check-in feature through the Foursquare app. And for all you "mayors" out there, don't fret: Your check-in history will carry over to the new app.
Market analysts speculated reasons for the re-branding Wednesday, and some believe Foursquare's rebranding is an interesting if not dangerous move.
"With Yelp being a main competitor of the new Foursquare, they will have to figure out what unique or interesting things they can add to a market that already exists," said independent analyst Greg Sterling of Sterling Market Intelligence. "For Foursquare, it will be all about user experience."
Steinback said the company is gathering feedback from users of Swarm, and that while some users have expressed dismay over the lack of some of the old Foursquare features, most have been very receptive. About three-fourths of its users have already switched over to the new app, the company said.
With the change in the app's main function also comes a change in its logo and presentation. The former logo, which featured a check-in checkmark, is now a pink "F" that is designed to be a morph "of (a) map pin and superpower emblem."
Steinback said the company will release the new Foursquare app "in a few weeks."