If you’ve ever played with online venue check-in applications, you’ve probably heard of Gowalla. That’s because for a very long time Gowalla and Foursquare were in direct competition with each other to be the go-to application for your check-ins. Now, things are different. Gowalla has evolved into something a little more sophisticated and managed to differentiate itself in the process.
Essentially, Gowalla is now about building stories and about travel. Stories are built around your friends’ check-ins and behaviour, showing users when their friends have done something interesting together. Travel guides for top tourism spots have also evolved out of the check-in data in Gowalla. The result is that you want to use Gowalla to plan trips with friends and then to record them for your memories as you go.
Check-Ins Are Still There… Sort Of
Users can still let people know when they’ve visited a place – and are encouraged to by all means! All of your shared activities are used to build the stories with friends and travel guides for all.
On the Gowalla website or smartphone application, search for the “spot” you’re visiting and add a “highlight” about any aspect of the location, upload a photo, like the location or add the location to a list. These activities let people know what you think and where you’ve been.
If you’re a little over all these multiple check-ins, you can connect your Gowalla account with Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook so that you only have to check in once. Head to You > Settings to enable this cross-posting. However, it would be great to have the ability to cross-post the other way around as well. That is, from Facebook and Foursquare into Gowalla.
Instead of seeing a long stream of disconnected check-ins and photos you’ll now see these as a cluster of events, pieced together as a story. If a handful of your friends all went to the same event, you’ll see all of their check-ins and photos together as the one story, making it far more cohesive, interesting and readable. You’ll also see comments by friends of friends who were at the same events, making the story even more interesting and complete.
Now, this is where all that information in Gowalla starts to really take shape. Travel guides are pieced together from all the public information on a venue, city or country.
If you check out the guides you’ll see the top cities grouped by country for convenience, so you can browse through them and do a virtual tour. Clicking on a city will show you top locations, recent photos, featured locations and more. It’s easy to click through to other practical traveler-focused information, such as nightlife, food venues and the best lists people have made featuring this city.
These travel guides are filled with real-life things that people have done, seen and recommended, so they’re great for getting an honest perspective on the place before you go. It’s definitely worth adding Gowalla to the list of places you’ll use to research destinations before or while you travel.
What do you think of Gowalla’s guides and stories? Let us know!
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