Gowalla's dead: What does this mean for location-based services?

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The hard to pronounce location-based application Gowalla, Foursquare’s slicker but less popular little cousin, has closed its doors over the weekend after five pretty good years of show-offy check-ins and social travel guides.

Three months after Facebook’s talent acquisition of Gowalla, the site has officially shut down leaving us with a heartfelt goodbye and a promise that we can download our data in the coming months.

But what does this mean for the future of location-based apps?

In many ways Foursquare is the only major player in the location-based app space with a central focus on the check-in, even though it’s been making efforts in recent months to improve its offering with recommendation features like Explorer too.

The challenge for Foursquare will be to stay relevant, from what we can tell the future of location-based services is less about the checking-in and the showing off and much more about recommending and sharing once you’ve got there. Apps like Instagram, Path and soon-to-be new kid on the block deja mi all combine location with photo sharing, tips, comments and the other quirks of social networking in one place. Foursquare will need to continue to add new features or be left behind by the increasing amount of all-singing, all-dancing offerings set to take its place assuming that they haven’t already. Way back in June of last year we asked whether Foursquare is dead in London and we’re not sure whether a few new features thrown in for good measure will change that.

Becca Caddy

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