Foursquare has updated their location check-in app “Swarm” to allow users to check-in “off-grid”. Simply put, you can now check-in to a location privately without having to make it public knowledge.
This is an old feature that was axed when Foursquare forked into two apps: Foursquare and Swarm. According to Foursquare’s release notes for the new update, this was a heavily requested feature many users wanted back. However some are puzzled by the move. Nate Swanner from the Next Web writes:
Not only is the concept of checking in without sharing your location befuddling, but it flies in the face of everything Swarm is supposed to be. When the service began as a forking of Foursquare, it was purposefully to let you continue checking in so friends would know where you were.
Personally, I’m delighted to be reunited with a feature I really missed. I’ve been using an IFTTT recipe to keep a running diary of my check-ins on Google Calendar. It’s essentially an automated, searchable record of all the places I’ve been. Off-grid checkins allow me to granularly choose which locations I want to archive without having to make it public.
Foursquare is much more than a social network. It’s a really useful location tool as well and when it comes to location, users need to be fully in control.