"What's the buzz?"
Swarm is Foursquare's new app, and it bills itself as the fastest, most direct, and most convenient way to find out what your friends are up to.
In the original Foursquare app, you had to check in manually in order for folks on your friends list to know where you were. Swarm switches that up, allowing you to constantly broadcast your approximate location. It won't show you as a blinking dot on a map; rather, you'll receive a list of your friends also using Swarm along with an estimation of how far away they are. This feature can be switched on and off manually - so feel free to stroll undetected as you please.
Theoretically, you'd use this information to connect in person: "Oh, Bubba's just around the corner from me? I'll message him to see if he wants to join us for drinks." Swarm also links with your Foursquare account, so you can check-in through the new app. There's the added functionality of stickers, too, like little licks of flame that go over your profile photo to indicate that you're having a flaming hot time (or that your pants are on fire, perhaps).
There's also a section where you can post propositions for plans and browse/comment plans of friends.
The app is well-designed, intuitive, attractive, and simple to use. The big question is, why is this a separate app from the original Foursquare if it links in with it so seamlessly? Why wasn't the Foursquare app simply updated with the new optional proximity feature? Swarm's useless if most of your local friends don't also have it installed, and it's going to be a rough push to get all of them to download yet another app. I do like the fire sticker, though.
Foursquare's Swarm is not a terrible idea, and the execution is on point - but I'm not sure I see the value of packaging it in an entirely separate app.