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Foursquare's Swarm app will let you spend virtual coins on real deals
Foursquare and Swarm are both getting app updates today. And though it's been a little more than two years since the check-in / restaurant discovery Foursquare app split itself into two, it still seems as though it's necessary to remind people how these two interrelated apps work: Swarm is for check-ins and competing to be the mayor of your local haunt and Foursquare for finding stuff nearby.Of the two, Swarm is getting the more important update. Version 4.7 is going to start offering deals from local businesses. To take advantage of them, you "spend" the virtual coins the app gives you when you check in to a business. They're called "Swarm Perks" and the company says that there will be "tens of thousands" of them at launch. They come to Swarm via third-party companies, but it's possible that someday in the future small businesses could sign up directly with Foursquare to set them up. Crowley says that there's no money changing hands with these deals, it's simply a way to drive usage.Swarm is a different kind of app now than it was in the months after that split two years ago. Users were confused and unhappy with the unbundling. But J Crowley, Foursquare's head of product, says those days are over. His main piece of evidence? The company just got its 10 billionth check-in. But more specifically, Crowley says that the company has paid more attention to Swarm this year, adding in game-like options like Trivia and the aforementioned coins. That was a pivot, moving away from trying to be a "social utility" that helped people meet up and instead focusing on competition and in-app sticker rewards.
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