Gowalla has been fighting a losing battle with Foursquare for the geosocial network crown for a while now. However, their recent iPhone app update suggests they’ve decided to take advice from the old saying “If you can’t beat them, join them”
Version 3 of the Gowalla app has the option to share your location on Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Places and Foursquare, rather than just Gowalla. The app also gives users the opportunity to earn Foursquare badges, and it still grabs Foursquare tips when you check in.
Effectively, this means you can see where your friends are checking in, across Facebook Places, Foursquare and Gowalla, within one app. Handy if all your friends use different networks, or if you want the advantages of all three offerings.
The Foursquare integration isn’t the only added feature in the new app. Users can now leave private notes at locations for their friends. Which should make promotions like treasure hunts and press trips more interesting.
Ironically, by ‘giving in’ and integrating Foursquare into their app, Gowalla could increase their downloads and number of users. I know if I used location-based social networks, I’d be interested in a universal tool like this.
However, there is a downside. The app is built using Foursquare’s API, rather than through Foursquare directly. Which leaves them open to problems if Foursquare decide to block their use of the API. As Mashable reports, “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.”