Category: developers journal

Gowalla – what is it all about?

Author: Daemon December 29, 2009

I admit it. I do not see the purpose of Gowalla for me as a user. I have been using it for 3 weeks, and I just do not see what is the end game.

Just in case you have been living under the rock in the last months, Gowalla is new game-social-attentiondeficitdisorder internet thingie with an edge for locations. As you walk through the city, you can check-in into a location, like your favourite pub or restaurant. If that place is not yet Gowalled, you can easily add it right there, and neatly categorize it. The base platform for Gowalla is iPhone, preferably 3GS so Gowalla can pick up the fine GPS coordinates. The website is here just for the registration and some tweaking of location (for example, if iPhone missed your location).

With all this comes the game element of collecting items and pins. When you first create an account you get a few random digital items, like boots, pizza slice, toy robot. You can drop those items on locations, or swap them for items someone else dropped there. Basically, you can collect some digital items.

By doing some combo check-ins, you get pins like awards. I collected a couple of pins, I am “Wanderer” and “Explorer” and got some pins for creating 10 spots, and all that. That is neat.

I am not sure what the end game benefit for me as a user is. Why would I use Gowalla? Twitter has uses – it keeps me informed about stuff happening in my city, in my country, in the world, and on the internet. Facebook also has uses, there is a benefit for me as a user in it. But I just do not see benefit for me as a user in Gowalla.

First of all, it requires work from my side, but let’s say we got that covered. I, as well as many of my friends, are early adopters, but more than that, we are willing to help for a good cause. It is not a problem for me to walk around my usual routes and just mark all the locations so that later generations of users can see them.

But what after that?

Checking into locations becomes just a boring task that I need to do, with no real benefit for me. I check in Nivas every day. I check in restaurants and apparel store. So what? I sometimes find digital items there. So?

One good thing that I have managed to find in Gowalla is that it could force me to visit some locations that maybe I would not visit on my own. But walking around the city just to get some digital pins; I do not see it happening.

The more I use Gowalla, the more I fail the see the point in it. Can you enlighten me? Tell me why is it good?


    4 thoughts on “Gowalla – what is it all about?”

  • Same here, been thinking about this for a week. Using it, but don’t understand the potential yet.

  • I’m using Gowalla a few months now and its pretty fun to play with.

  • Because it’s just fun. And finding items is exciting. And I’m always competing with my mom. I think it’s cool, but you don’t have to use it. Get rid of it if you don’t find use for it.

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