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Social Check-in App Battle, Foursquare vs. Gowalla

There’s been a battle brewing between two of the largest location-based check-in social apps, Gowalla and Foursquare.  Both apps have been receiving frequent and substantial updates lately.  So, you must be wondering which app is best for easily sharing the places you go and  the sights you see.  Read on for the verdict.



  • Simple sign-up process upon downloading the app
  • Fun, friendly user-interface
  • Colorful, descriptive icons
  • Sightseeing trip checklists
  • Find items at check-in locations
  • Connect easily with your friends
  • Earn badges along the way
  • Add a venue directly from the app
  • Filter spots to quickly find what you’re looking for
  • Map locations
  • GPS inaccuracy at times
  • Inconsistent responsiveness within the app’s interface
  • Nearby Spots may not update correctly
  • Simple, navigable user-interfaces
  • Become Mayor of locations by being the check-in leader
  • Earn badges for unique check-in habits/locations
  • Connect easily with your friends
  • Homescreen widget of friends’ activities
  • Add a venue directly from the app
  • Quick Check-in feature
  • Map locations
  • Tips tab for additional information about locations
  • Uninspired user-interface lacking color and flavor
  • GPS inaccuracy at times
The features that make these social-connectivity apps successful are the user-interface, accessibility, and ease of use.  For these reasons, you have to recognize Gowalla’s appealing interface that naturally draws you in.  The icons give off a fun, almost bubbly feel to the app itself.  Both apps offer many great (and similar) features like badges, friend connections, and the ability to add venues.  The mayorship feature of Foursquare can either be seen as a pro or a con.  It’s definitely nice to know you’re the ruler of a specific location, but it also brings competition between users which seems to go against the social-nature of the app.  Gowalla feels like a fun place to hangout, offering a new and engaging experience.
Even though both apps offer great social check-in communities, Gowalla nudges ahead for the win.

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  1. One thing not mentioned in the Foursquare review is that it is not an official app and is written by volunteers and not by Foursquare. This could lead to better development of Gowalla since Foursquare has nothing invested in the Foursquare app.

  2. Hmm but from my personal experience on my Droid. Foursquare wins by a mile. I tried using gowalla and I couldn't even add a menu. You can't check in at gowalla unless you're right at the same exact god location. There were times when I couldn't check in because it says I was 300 mtrs away when I'm right inside the store. Also there's been times when I failed to check in immediately and after leaving the venue, foursquare let's me check in even if I was a mile away. Also mostly every one I know is using 4square, not many users on gowalla. But in fairness, gowalla's layout is better.

  3. I like bolth. But, alot of cheating is on 4square. People checkin from homes and become mayors without even visiting the place. I visit my favorite bar down the street and lost being mayor because this checks in every couple minutes over and over. He owns 2 blocks and never visits the spots.

    • @James That’s a large reason why I find social check-in apps frustrating at times.. If there was a way to make it more precise and more legitimate, I’d probably enjoy using it a lot more often

  4. I think foursquare has the edge because businesses give incentives for checking in with foursquare… I have not heard of this with Gowalla. For example, if you check in to certain vegas casinos you get a free drink, etc.

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