I started this experiment to see how comfortable I was using either of the services mentioned here… both are Geo-Location based Social Networks built upon the idea that one should discover places around a city or a neighborhood. The timing couldn’t be perfect as I was also traveling out of my home town (Pune) to Bangalore & Delhi. Being the founder of foursquare Pune and having evangelized heavily to venues in my town, the responsibility here was huge and it was no surprise seeing the responses on my twitter timeline when I started pushing Gowalla checkins.
There have been many comparisons between these two services and frankly you might have just said “there we go again” upon seeing this post. But the importance to me was not all those tech filled comparisons on why foursquare or gowalla were better but, the simple fact - which is easier to live with at the end of the day?
So here it is… it’s foursquare (No surprise).
But let me explain..
- Gowalla has an awesome User Interface… miles ahead of foursquare & is responsive too. I did not get failed checkins whenever I used the former, latter keeps going down as much as twitter does its failwhale.
- Gowalla’s only weakness is also its strenght… its completely GPS based. So if for some reason, the GPS decides to tell you that you are not where you are (funny).. you cannot checkin.
- Foursquare on the other hand is more user friendly.. but the whole process of checkins is pain in the ass especially when you have Non-Foursquare friends hanging around & waiting for you to start or be a part of the conversation. Oops!
- In the end Foursquare has an edge over Gowalla… where the Mayorship specials & checkin specials are concerned. None of the cities I travelled too had any of these, but I know that Pune has and it makes foursquare that much more valuable.
So foursquare is more comfortable to live with as it offers rewards, offers great tips from members, tells you where your friends are and lets you compete for mayorships… the trick is for the venues now to adopt this or we’re gonna see some changes coming in from other competing Social Networks as well.
Also what foursquare needs is to add more “experience” to the user interaction. Gowalla does this with trips and sadly as the service is hardly used by anyone.. other than foreigners who visit India… this is not a big deal yet. But please foursquare, am sure you can come up with something here?
Hmm… End of Story. Would be glad to see your comments on this.