Let me start with a rant…
Mashable stole my original title for this post on December 25th, 2009. Merry Christmas to you too. I had originally planned Foursquare vs. Gowalla…
I had been working on my post for over a month now, you see… I am not reviewing a social media application, I am using it everyday to understand and then talk about it… that takes time.
Okay enough, let me now get straight to the point.
I started using both Foursquare and Gowalla couple months ago. Location based iPhone apps are HOT and seems like there is one coming out everyday. Foursquare and Gowalla are most popular by far. If you are working on the next location based surf the city game, STOP! (hint: loopt)
Both apps have pretty much the same features but I Prefer Foursquare over Gowalla, and here’s why:
I am at Via Mia Pizza, and it is time time to check-in. I tap Foursquare and check-in. I tap Gowalla but it relies on a different algorithm I guess, it told me I wasn’t even on El Camino Real. I restarted the app, it said finding address… hmmm I have a Pizza to eat, sorry!
Sounds like I am generalizing but I am not, it has happened to me quite a few times.
Cheat Me Not
Gowalla ASSUMES I am going to cheat, so what it does is it asks the person who first discovered the location to create a marker. At SFSU, I think the person who created the marker was standing at the BART shuttle right on 19th Avenue. When I park my car at the other end of the campus, Gowalla doesn’t let me check-in because I am not within certain meters of SFSU. Of course I am not, the parking garage is a mile from 19th Avenue. Foursquare doesn’t care, it doesn’t ASSUME I am going to cheat.
Blue seems to be the color on every designer’s radar and that’s exactly what happened with Foursquare. Why? I don’t know, maybe something to do with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr etc being blue. Gowalla on the other hand decided that they will design a slick looking app. I lean more towards Gowalla… I like pretty things!
Every time I reach a destination, my wife says don’t you dare check-in, stop becoming a Mayor of everything. The word is catchy, she knew the whole Mayor deal even before I had the app. Foursquare is emphasizing on the people aspect of the social app and it is working like a charm. Gowalla is not that impressive. What exactly will a “Top 10″ and “Creators and Founders” list accomplish?
What would a social app be without a robust friend feature? Like me, most of my Foursquare friends also use Gowalla. Confession: I have more friends on Foursquare. Both apps work in the same manner, they send you pings when your friends check-in to their destinations and if you happen to be at that same location, you can go and say Hi. If not, you can still see what they are doing at the place they checked-in.
Everything else about Foursquare and Gowalla is immature as of right now. For e.g. the game aspect of the whole thing. I am not using Foursquare and Gowalla to play some game, I am using it because I want to know what my friends think about places they visit. When I visit a place and check-in, I look at what tips others have left. That’s what I like about it…
2010 will be the year of location based apps, everyone will have a smartphone sooner or later…
What do you prefer? Foursquare or Gowalla? Why? Do you like another location based app?