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.
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!”