So, yes, I have written before that I have written before about Gowalla. As somebody who didn’t go to SXSW but downloaded the newest versions of Gowalla and Foursquare and spent the week travelling with both, I’d like to venture a healthy guess:
From a gameplay perspective Gowalla moved forward, Foursquare did cosmetics. Sure, Foursquare’s new design is neat, eye-candy and more fun to use the app. The leaderboard is a bit more hidden and I still miss not a weekly but say monthly or “since January 1st” view, but aside from that it is solid.
Gowalla moved forward by thinking about what value one could bring to the place you check-in, something (one might argue) they didn’t have before (as opposed to Foursquare’s tipps). However, the idea of having a kind of shoe box of pictures at a venue, with memories of the people who left the photos there is grand in every sense of the word. This is the first significant improvement. The second step forward is the opportunity to send/attach messages with check-ins. I can’t remember how often I saw somebody check in somewhere and thinking to send a message. But exiting the app, starting up email/twitter/facebook seems to much of a hassle, something the new feature eliminates.
These two new features are very social and I am looking forward to silly photo memes where people photograph themselves under the table at a certain Starbucks or what not. So in my book this round goes to Gowalla.