I was stunned this morning to read that Gowalla, the location based, check in application, has integrated with its greatest competitor, Foursquare. Just two weeks ago I wrote about Gowalla’s major coup in signing a partnership with Disney. This seemed like a turning point for the company, legitimizing its position as a key player in the space.
Today Ben Parr of Mashable wrote:
“The Foursquare integration has two key components. First, Gowalla now lets you broadcast your check ins on not only its app, but Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook Places and Foursquare as well. Gowalla even lets you earn Foursquare badges and Facebook Deals through the iPhone app. As an added bonus, Gowalla also pulls in Foursquare Tips whenever you check in.”
This begs the question, why not just use Foursquare? Parr goes on to explain his theory on Foursquare’s reaction:
“Gowalla did not work with Foursquare on this integration; it was all done through the API. That leaves the real possibility that Foursquare could throw a big wrench into Gowalla’s plans by blocking its rival’s use of the API. The threat posed by Gowalla 3 is real; that alone could force Foursquare’s hand in the name of competition. It would also create a firestorm of controversy.”
In order to succeed in the market, Gowalla will have to differentiate itself from Foursquare and other mobile check in applications (like Facebook Places), encouraging the user to exclusively check in with their application.
Perhaps, Gowalla feels this integration will allow users to broadcast one check in across multiple apps, with just one touch to the Gowalla mobile app. If that’s the Gowalla game plan, it’s pure genius.