Foursquare Spins Off Location Checkins to Swarm App

Foursquare is hoping to better cater to the way people use its location-based social networking service by splitting into two apps. Starting Thursday, Foursquare will offer a new iPhone and Android app called Swarm to handle location checkins and friend interaction, while the Foursquare app will evolve to become more of a location discovery app similar to Yelp.

Foursquare's new look: SwarmFoursquare's new look: Swarm

Along with the rollout of Swarm, Foursquare is changing how mayorships work. Instead of competing with everyone that checks in at a specific location, which has made attaining mayorships in some places nearly impossible, you'll compete against your friends. The change means there can be multiple mayors for any given location, and that it'll be easier to become a mayor at popular spots.

The Foursquare app was updates on Wednesday in preparation for Swarm's launch, but doesn't yet ditch the features that will differentiate it from Swarm. That will come later this summer with another app update after the company has worked through its feature transition.

Both the Foursquare and Swarm apps are free and downloadable at Apple's iTunes-based App Store.

[Updated with link the the Swarm app]