Foursquare's bringing some much needed simplicity to its standalone Swarm app today, removing the old "plans" feature that let users publicly (and awkwardly) ask all of their friends to hang out. That's been ditched in favor of a private messaging system. "We think it will bring up the value of neighborhood sharing, which lets you see your friends’ general proximity, and we hope that this will help people start reaching out to their nearby friends a little more often," product manager Nick Burton told TechCrunch. That gives off the impression that not many people were using the old plans functionality anyway. Messages can be sent individually, in group chats, or blasts to everyone in case you did for some reason prefer the old way. Swarm says you can even message people who don't use the app.
Your location will be displayed for any messages you fire off — on a map, which is a bit more specific than the neighborhood that's usually attached to a user's name. Swarm's messages also include read receipts, so you can be absolutely sure your friend didn't miss that request to grab lunch. They just ignored it. Swarm says users can expect "a lot more fun" in a future update, which could bring Swarm closer to the "personality of the older versions of Foursquare." That's assuming you've stuck with Foursquare's grand divorce experiment in the first place.