gowalla

Chris Nuttall

Gowalla, the location-based service that competes with Foursquare and others, has announced a major shift in direction – adding city guides to its product and moving on from its founding concept of check-ins.

Josh Williams, Gowalla co-founder and chief executive, unveiled the revamped service at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Monday. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Facebook Places, launched just five months ago, already appears to be sucking marketing dollars away from needy location-based startups such as Foursquare and Gowalla , according to a new survey. Responses from more than 8,000 local business owners in the US to a MerchantCircle quarterly questionnaire also suggest group-buying sites are failing to gain much traction versus traditional online marketing destinations such as Facebook and Google’s AdWords. Read more

David Gelles

Facebook has just invited us to an event on Wednesday afternoon at which the company “will provide an update on the service’s features and products.”

Sounds like a product launch, and Facebook is likely to unveil some features that will help it defend its turf from Google’s imminent social networking push.

At the top of the list of features Facebook watchers are anticipating: Places. Read more

David Gelles

When it comes to the long-term success of stand-alone “check-in” services like Foursquare, Gowalla and Booyah, it’s all about incentives.

Sure, a few hundred-thousand early adopters might find social value in sharing their location with the world. But in order for checking-in to go mainstream, these companies will have to offer users a compelling answer to the question “Why?”

Foursquare is inching towards a meaningful response with a bevy of partnerships, including its latest promotion with StarbucksRead more

David Gelles

As anticipated, location-sharing services were the talk of the town in Austin as engineers and entrepreneurs convened for the South by Southwest Interactive festival.

“Location, location location,” Playfish chief operating officer Sebastien de Halleux told me when I caught up with him. “It’s a big theme for the web at this stage.”

That may be true. But despite the genuine promise of location-based services, and all the hype around the budding rivalry between Foursquare and Gowalla — rival applications that let users “check-in” and share their location with friends — this stuff is still a long way from being mainstream. Read more

David Gelles

South by Southwest Interactive gets underway today in Austin, Texas, and a broad swath of the technology community will be headed there to check out the bands, barbecue, and, oh yeah, the startups.

Ever since Twitter had its breakout moment at the 2007 festival, SXSW has been considered a king-maker of sorts. Yet no startup has yet been able to replicate Twitter’s success.

This year the major theme is set to be location based services, and the battle between Foursquare and Gowalla in particular. The two similar services let users “check-in” to different locations and earn virtual badges and points, and tech enthusiasts believe that with the proliferation of smartphones, both companies could become hugely successful. Read more