Foursquare’s new Swarm app now available

Swarm 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)Swarm 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)Swarm 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 004)

Earlier this morning, I diligently informed you that the crowd-sourced location platform Foursquare has updated its free iPhone check-in software ahead of the impending launch of a brand new Swarm app later today.

Now available free in the App Store, Swarm for iPhone integrates gamified features from the main Foursquare app to “help people keep up and meet up with their friends”.

It combines all-new mayorships, while introducing intriguing new stuff such as popular stickers. Basically, the app offers detailed insights about your life and lets you connect to friends in your neighborhood to explore their activities.

Swarm arrives ahead of Foursquare’s search-focused revamp due this summer. And when it drops, the Foursquare app will no longer let you check-in to places. If you have updated to the new Foursquare 7.0.8 and have Swarm installed, you should be able to peek at some of the upcoming changes inside the Foursquare app…

Swarm is designed to make it easy to see who’s out nearby, who’s doing what, who wants to hang out later and more. To get started, just open the app to see who is out nearby.

Check-ins are faster and “more fun” than before and you can share what you’re doing and where with the whole world, if you want.

And when connecting with friends, you can easily message a person right within the app. Swarm focuses on users’ activities that are visible to all friends in their city.

Foursquare Swarm 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 008)Foursquare Swarm 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 007)

Though your friends can see if you’re in their vicinity and how close you are, this neighborhood sharing feature can be easily enabled or disabled anywhere in the app, simply by swiping right at the top of any screen.

Swarm 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 003)

Foursquare warns that keeping Swarm running in the background will decrease battery life.

We’ve spent years developing the location technology that powers Swarm, making it extremely power efficient. But, as with all apps of this type, please note that continued use of GPS running in the background can dramatically decrease battery life.

The firm offers the following feature highlights:

• Insights. You guys have told us you love the little nuggets of insight we serve up after each check-in, like “Your 4th week in a row at your gym,” or “Your first time hanging out with Jason in 3 months.” These will continue to be an important part of Swarm.

• Stickers. In the new Swarm, we built a bunch of stickers you can attach to your check-ins to quickly express how you feel or what you’re doing. (Don’t worry, they’re all free!) We’ll give you a few to start off with and, as you go out and explore the world, you’ll unlock more based on the places you visit. (Hint: try checking in at lots of different types of places to unlock new ones!)

• Mayors 2.0. We wanted to get back to a fun way to compete with your friends instead of all 50,000,000 people who are on Foursquare. With these new mayorships, if you and a couple friends have been checking in to a place, the person who has been there the most lately gets a crown sticker. So you and your friends can compete for the mayorship of your favorite bar, without having to worry about the guy who is there every. single. day. Mayors 2.0 means that places can have many different mayors, one for each circle of friends, instead of just a single mayor at each place.

• Surprises. We’ve also hidden a few other surprises in the app, but we’ll let you find those

Foursquare has grown from 50,000 people when it launched back in 2009 to 50 million customers who now check-in to places, post reviews and engage with the gamified service to compete with friends for scores and mayorships.

Foursquare’s main goal with Swarm is to give the game mechanics, which has made the main iOS client so popular, its own standalone app in the hope of boosting user engagement.

As for the upcoming Foursquare app refresh (coming this summer), it will feature “the spiritual successor to badges,” writes the firm.

Badges were always meant to recognize and reward people who would seek out and find awesome things in the real world, and we found a great new way to do that.

Download Swarm free from the App Store.

The software requires iOS 7.0 or later and supports the iPhone and iPod touch natively.