Reducing barriers to entry, Foursquare no longer requires new users to sign up for an account before accessing its mobile application.
The move comes as the company tries to regain its footing after deciding to divide itself into two distinct apps, last year.
Yet, Foursquare is hardly struggling, a company spokeswoman insisted. “Each month, tens of millions of people browse Foursquare.com without the requirement of creating an account,” she said. “Now, we are bringing this streamlined experience to the Foursquare app.”
The spokeswoman said Foursquare got the idea from other local search apps, which don’t require users to sign-in before accessing their services.
Foursquare, the product, didn’t become a Yelp-like local search service until last year. When it did, the company renamed the service that people have long associated with the Foursquare brand -- i.e., let people check into physical locations -- Swarm.
Since then, user response to Foursquare’s big split has been mixed. Last October, Foursquare ranked #923 overall in the U.S. App Store -- a huge decline from its rank of #44 in 2011, VentureBeat reported, citing data from comScore, App Annie, Google and Foursquare.
Complicating matters further, Facebook recently began testing a service that pops place-based information right into users’ News Feed. If well received by users, Place tips could challenge local ratings services like Yelp, Foursquare and similar offerings from Google.
Still, the promise of location-based social networking has never been brighter. By 2016, 90% of smartphones will be enabled with GPS technology, and as a result, the global, real-time, mobile location-based advertising and marketing market is expected to reach $9 billion by 2017.
TechCrunch was first to report the change, on Friday.