Foursquare have release a new app that is set to become very popular, suggested upgrades to this app could make your iPhone or android a great experience, just imaging logging into the app and finding out how close your friends are to you. Certainly this would be a great app to have.
Swarm is a new app from Foursquare out today that chisels off the check-in and proximity features of the main app and places them in a sparse, focus-driven new home. The app is nicely done, though it will be of most use to those in dense urban areas with lots of friends.
The underlying mechanics of Swarm are what’s really interesting here — and more importantly what it says about the next generation of apps you’ll be using on your smartphone.
There’s a fundamental shift in the way that we use apps underway, and the symptoms are all over the map. From a deeper, more thoughtful approach to push notifications to the breaking apart of large, unwieldy apps into smaller more focused components.
The shift we’re seeing will be the third strata of user interaction since the iPhone popularized the mobile app in a major way. The initial offerings for the iPhone and then Android devices adhered fairly closely to the ‘information appliance’ model. Using software, you transformed your phone into a mostly mono-purpose device just like it said on the tin. Now it’s a phone. Now it’s a calculator. Now it’s a messaging tool.
The second phase is the ‘home screen’ era, where every app fought hard to be your home base. The prevailing wisdom was that you had to cram everything your service offered into mobile, using a form of design-driven gavage to stuff your app until it was positively groaning with tabs and gutters.
Now, we’re entering the age of apps as service layers. These are apps you have on your phone but only open when you know they explicitly have something to say to you. They aren’t for ‘idle browsing’, they’re purpose built and informed by contextual signals like hardware sensors.
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