Check In and Relaunch. Hello Again Gowalla
It's 2009 all over again. Or is it 2012? After a 2009 launch at SXSW, the much hyped location wars with Foursquare, Facebook Places and Google Latitude, acquisition by Facebook in 2011 and - to no one's surprise - shutting down in early 2012 ... Gowalla is back it seems.
Original co-founder Josh Williams is back at the helm and back at SXSW with the new Gowalla which looks awfully like the original Gowalla, only iOS only this time, with no web prescence to speak of and no Android app in the works or even planned.
But maybe things are different second time around. Rather than fighting it out with Foursquare and Swarm, this time once rival Dennis Crowley is on board as an investor. Only time will tell, but right now after re-registering my old account name (
vicchi of course) after installing the app on my phone ... it's all a bit bare and waiting for people to add places. Of course, Foursquare started in just the same place but I have to scroll a long way into Central London to find some existing places to check-in to.
Tapping through to the "find my friends" link and everyone in my contacts list, a lot of who were Foursquare and/or Gowalla users some 15 years ago, are all listed as people to invite, rather than already signed up users.
Maybe there's only room for one social location sharing and checkin app and Foursquare will retain their crown. Or, as coverage in TechCrunch points out, maybe the real human interaction that apps such as Gowalla and Swarm can offer will find an audience looking for an antidote to the current AI fuelled world of ChatGPT.
The other thing, too, that we’re seeing early glimpses of, is what is going to happen with, say ChatGPT, or some of the other AI approaches. I think there, you’re going to see all of this content that’s been created by AI that spits out on to these other social media canvases. So there’s going to be a premium on knowing who’s real and what’s real. I think that plays into an opportunity for products that are innovating on these connections that are more real life, real world-based, to say, ‘Hey, these are, these are my real friends’.”
We shall see.