I started using both Foursquare and Gowalla a couple of months ago. Location-based iPhone apps are HOT, and seem like one is coming out every day. Foursquare and Gowalla are the 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 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 the 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 will 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 would design a slick-looking app. I lean more toward Gowalla… I like pretty things!
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 at 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 games, I am using them 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…