Gowalla wins the SXSW round

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.

The German collectors – reasoning why Germany will be Gowalla territory, not Foursquare

Will Europeans use Gowalla or Foursquare, asks Techcrunch Europe. With the amount of articles and podcasts I have done on Gowalla, e.g. this German piece, I don’t want to become ‘the Gowalla’ guy, but I think I can venture a guess and argue for Germany being Gowalla prone.

#1: We (ze German’s) actually prefer the GPS-requirement built-into Gowalla. Not only does it make adding new places super easy, it also gives us structure, exactness. We like the categories, too. All neat and clean. Hi-tech for the country (once) known for hi-tech. The exactness of the GPS relates to the punctuality our train system is known for (which everybody outside of Germany is in awe of while the we only complain).

#2: Foursquare is for hunters, Gowalla for collectors. Gowalla, while a social game, feels more about me. I could play this by myself, collecting item after item, droppping the inflationary Alamofires and blenders. Foursquare is more about adding new places, outhustling the other players. To oversimplify, I can be good at Gowalla despite not going out that often at night. I could even go further and blame this behaviour on our role in WW2 and argue that in the aftermath our role in history is being the passive, polite bystander, not the hunter.

I for myself am definitely the collector, not the hunter. Following the opening of the German Foursquare gates on November 20th there was a rush of new friends and I am often double-checking-in with both apps still. And yes, from a marketer’s perspective as of now it seems more easy to get in touch with the people at Foursquare to get something going. But I am already seeing boundaries being broken, people asking to follow my moves I have never heard of or been friends on Twitter for a week. I am not sure that that is what I want. And I like the eye-candy that is Gowalla and the excitement to steal the Beatnik Poet my wife left at the book store…

And there I am almost betting Mike Butcher that a year from now Germany will be Gowalla country, if…
Well there is the ‘reach’-question. Can Gowalla succeed, with only the iPhone as mobile device at the moment?

Hell, sure. Go, Gowalla 😉

Update: It seems that I wasn’t the only one writing about this last night. Martin seems undecided on who will win in Europe, while Gerald has an in-depth look at Foursquare and his first week playing with it hardcore (a great read).

Scobleizer: Foursquare, Gowalla maybe bigger than Twitter revisited

About five weeks ago Robert Scoble wrote a blog post wondering whether location-based service/game Foursquare could become bigger than Twitter. After listening to the 10/15/2009 Gillmor Gang (video) I am inclined to at least give in to “Twitter is nice, but we ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Here is the money quote, from one of the guys behind drop.io if I remember correctly:
“Checking in to a spot is easier than tweeting.”
Read that again and consider how – once you grokked the concept – how easy Twitter works.
And keep in mind that checking in to a location contains much more contextual data, like frequency, which friends go there, what actions where undertaken.

Are you getting the picture?

Are you keeping in mind the metadata deals Twitter did with Google and Microsoft this week? Are you keeping in mind that both Foursquare and Gowalla let users update their Twitter-streams with one click?

As of now, Twitter data as such is still pretty stupid. What I mean by that is is unstructured, not very semantic. Consider adding location info, not only via GPS but structured and with knowledge about who else is there…what could you do with that?

One guest of the show mentioned that his new scale can now automatically send weight and bmi via wifi to a server. Think of nike+. Think of what kind of food suggestions you might get when you next stop at a restaurant, using all of this data.

I am not sure if it will be Foursquare or Gowalla, it doesn’t matter. What matters is: “Checking in is much easier than sending a tweet!”