Home Gowalla 3.0: One Check-In to Rule Them All

Gowalla 3.0: One Check-In to Rule Them All

Gowalla has released an ambitious update to its iPhone app today that does more than just offer well-designed pins or virtual items. Gowalla 3.0 comes to the iPhone with a brand new design, a number of new features and something Gowalla users are likely to find far more useful than any digital mocha – integration with Facebook Places and Foursquare, Gowalla’s much larger rivals in the location-based check-in sphere.

Every time Gowalla comes out with an update to its interface it takes the app leaps and bounds beyond its previous version. Last March, the Austin-based company introduced photos and comments, and we called it a win for the service. Now, Gowalla 3.0 offers a revamp of the entire interface, streamlines the check-in process and again ramps up user interaction with “Notes”, “Highlights” and “Bookmarks”. With these features, you can leave notes for your friends at specific locations that they will only receive when they check-in there, highlight locations in “Best Of” lists and bookmark locations for future reference.

The real heart of this update, however, is in the check-in process and the all-in-one “Friends’ Activity” stream. Opening up the new Gowalla, there’s a “Check In” button at the bottom. Click on it and you’re no longer brought to a long list of places. Instead, the app tries to figure out exactly where you are by looking at past check-ins, which the company claims it gets right nearly 80% of the time. Now here’s the big part – when you check-in, you can share that check-in on Facebook Places, Tumblr and even Foursquare.

For version 3.0, Gowalla worked to match its locations with their counterparts on Twitter, Facebook Places and Foursquare, making it possible to simultaneously check in to each service. Gowalla also pulls in check-ins from these other services, which means that all of your Foursquare and Facebook friends now show up in your “Friends’ Activity” stream. Gowalla even imports “Tips” from Foursquare, which are general notes on locations left by Foursquare users. And if you’re worried about your Foursquare mayorship, your Gowalla check-ins count for those too. With this update, Gowalla seems to be saying that if you left or were considering leaving Gowalla because other people were using Foursquare, you don’t have to anymore.

Gowalla 3.0 is out for the iPhone and updates for the iPad, Blackberry and Android are on the way in the near future.

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