I’m probably one of the last people to give up on the one-two punch in the mouth that is Foursquare and Swarm. What was once a single app and a handy one at that has become too cumbersome and broken to be of any value to me.
I was first introduced to Foursquare way back in 2009. The mayorships were an obvious gimmick but I immediately saw value in the service as a way to track and time-stamp various places I’ve visited. What’s that restaurant in Scarborough that’s famous for their hot and sour soup? How do you spell the name of Helsinki’s famous electronics shop? Foursquare knows!
Foursquare also knows how to ruin a perfectly good product, apparently… which is exactly what they’ve done. Fortunately there are other apps and services that provide the same functionality should you decide to jump ship like me.
What ultimately killed Foursquare and Swarm for me was the ads. It’s bad enough that they get through my ad blocker, but the manner in which they’re deployed really gets in the way of using the service. The grab you see above is from the Foursquare app—notice that an ad is the second entry in the list.
Replacing Foursquare is easy. If it’s food recommendations that you seek, Zomato is an excellent service; my girlfriend swears by it. TripAdvisor is another worthy solution; like Zomato (and Foursquare) you get reputation points for every review you submit.
One more thing about ads: in the Swarm app they’re even worse. Ads usually end up being placed right under the check-in button, so when you try to check in at a venue you often end up tapping on an ad instead.
That’s just evil.
In a previous post I had written about how one’s check-in feed could no longer be connected to Google Calendar. My solution since that breakage had been to manually import my feed every month, so that a typical Saturday of suburban shopping would look something like what you see above.
I’ve yet to find any solution with this particular utility. That is until now…
Some time in the last 30 days my Google Maps got the Timeline feature, where my comings and goings are automatically saved for me—no special input required, unless I wanted to correct and/or amend something, as in the grab you see here.
Invasive? Creepy? Not if you consider that your carrier also knows where you are at all times. But if you’d rather that Google not know this information (or at least store it), you need only to opt out of sharing your location history. Find out how via the link below.
For me this new Timeline is all I need to uninstall Foursquare and Swarm for good. Data portability could use some work, though—according to reddit export options are somewhat limited at present.
More on Google Timeline at Lifehacker