Like it or not, social media networks and applications like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and the focus of this post, Gowalla, are becoming major influencers in our lives. The rapid adoption of smart phones like the iPhone, Blackberry and Android, mean that we have 24/7 ready access to information and news regarding our friends at any time.
Perhaps the most recent players on the social application scene are location based applications such as Gowalla and Foursquare. Such services allow users to keep track of where their friends are in the world and allow them to discover share new places and hot spots through the posting of photos, recommendations and more.
The focus of this post is, in my opinion, the better of these two aforementioned services – Gowalla, and how you can use Gowalla to complete a really fun and entertaining walking tour of Vancouver, British Columbia as outlined in part one of this post series.
What is Gowalla?
There’s no need for me to reinvent the wheel on something like this, so here’s a well written description as listed on the Gowalla Wikipedia page:
Gowalla is a primarily mobile web application that allows users to check-in to locations that they visit using their mobile device. This is achieved either through the use of dedicated applications available on Google Android, iPhone, Palm WebOS and BlackBerry, or via m.gowalla.com. Check-ins can be pushed via Notifications to iPhones, and by linking accounts, to Twitter and Facebook.
Why Gowalla & not Foursquare?
So why did I choose Gowalla, with a userbase of around 150,000, instead of competing application Foursquare, which is reported to have over 500,000 users? I could attempt to cover the main arguments myself, but I recently read a brilliant post by tech blogger Roger Erik Tinch that covers everything beautifully – especially in this one opening paragraph:
Mind you, I was using Foursquare before Gowalla, but I found it to be a very tedious and frustrating process in adding locations compared to Gowalla’s elegant solution of using GPS coorindates to determine your “spot” (of course Foursquare has added this feature in recent versions). From there I fell in love with the idea of “items” and the strong sense of design (particularly icons) that added to this intriguing notion of owning these virtual goods. It’s become a tiring routine of trying to sell people on Gowalla while I watch them “check-in” on Foursquare. Kind of reminds me of 2007 when I constantly peddled Facebook as the social network to join while calling MySpace an also-ran. But, I digress…
Check out Roger’s full, thoughtful article here.
The Gowalla “Walking Tour of Vancouver” Trip
I guess the main point to this post is to let you know that there’s now a “Walking Tour of Vancouver” trip available on Gowalla which I set up recently.
By using Gowalla as your guide for spots to check-in at along the way, your chances of getting lost are slim, you have the opportunity of picking up and swapping random items as you go (see images below), and at the end of it you’ll have enjoyed an entertaining day seeing some of the best free attractions Vancouver has to offer, and you’ll receive your very own “Walking Tour of Vancouver” pin which you can add to your collection.
Personally, I’d LOVE to see my “Walking Tour of Vancouver” become a featured trip on Gowalla and receive a special badge icon (*hint, hint*). The current camera icon is lovely, but wouldn’t it be awesome to see a prominent Vancouver icon used instead?