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CNET Update: Foursquare Swarm spinoff puts focus on friends

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CNET Update: Foursquare Swarm spinoff puts focus on friends

2:56 /

The king of check-in apps tarnishes its once-coveted Mayor crown with a new app, Google promotes Glass as a travel companion, and Flappy Bird vows to fly again.

To all you Four Squares mare out there. Your crown just lost its luster. I'm Bridget Carey, and this is your CNet update. [MUSIC] Four Square has a new spin off app. It makes it easy to find friends nearby, see what they're up to and send a quick message to make plans. It's called Swarm. And you may find this to be useful if you're a social butterfly or looking for poplar things to do near you. The big focus around Swarm is to share your location with friends. Even if you're not using the app, it can share the general neighborhood that you're in. But if you want privacy you can turn that off. Swarm also helps you get together with friends with a new feature called Planning. You can announce plans to hang out and see if anyone else wants to join you. The rules of being crowned mayor have also changed. You no longer are competing against the whole Foursquare community to become mayor of a place by checking in the most. Now you just have to beat out your friends for that title, and that certainly makes it less impressive. The main Foursquare app is said to get a redesign later this year, to put more of a focus on ways to discover places, rather than Swarm's focus on people. Foursquare could have just put all these new Swarm features in its existing app. But app makers are starting this new trend of dividing up their services, as a new way to grow. We've seen Facebook try to chisel out parts of itself into smaller more focused apps, and now Foursquare is doing the same. But in any form it wants to be your travel companion app, just like TripIt and OpenTable, all three of which are now on Google Glass. The Glass version of Foursquare is supposed to let you check in with a voice command and find a place nearby that matches where you are. But you're probably more likely just to take out your smartphone to customize you're check in. The same goes for Open Table. I'm not sure how it's any faster to make a reservation at a restaurant through the glass window instead of your smart phone. Trip It shows a quick outline of your days itinerary which may be helpful if your hands are full, and you just want to quickly glance up at what time the flight is leaving. There are other way Glass is probably more helpful for travelers. Take the Word Lens translation app. It shows translated text of anything that the camera's pointing at. So you could just look around at nearby signs and see what they mean in the screen above your eye. Now if only the battery would last through one day of sightseeing. One area we don't hear much about is games for Glass. Will the world one day get a Glass version of Flappy Bird? For now, you'll just have to settle for a multiplayer version. The creator of Flappy Bird told CNBC that he's bringing this terrible game phenomenon back in a new multiplayer form, and it could be out in August. Oh joy. That's your tech news update. You can find more details on these stories at cnet.com. From our studios in New York, I'm Bridget Carey. [MUSIC]

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