The new Gowalla approach

September 24, 2011 Written By Marco Monteiro

This week Gowalla released a new mobile app both for Android and IOS. When I heard this I was so excited. I’m not using gowalla for that long, I used foursquare when I started checkin into places. But lately I noticed that I had much more real friends on Gowalla than foursquare. So I changed to Gowalla and I love it.

I loved Gowala, it’s was fun, fast and most of all it worked. Well not anymore, not after that last version. For what I’ve been reading they changed the business strategy, trying to difference their product from foursquare. I can relate to that, since there’s no space in the market for both. But I never thought they would go down this path. First the website.

My profile is now buggy, since the update I can’t see my friends updates. And then my passport, can’t find all the rewards I’ve found while using Gowala. But ok, no more of that, I can live with that. But the friends stream bug is sure is annoying. gowalla It appears that I’m not alone, since there’s a lot more people with this problem. Try to contact Gowalla on twitter and this was their response.

Now the app.

The checkin process: (Looks like Gowalla is not about checkin anymore) now you have a division first the visited spots, than the near by spots. That’s cool, I like it. Because if you have a routine is much easier if the spots you already entered are there for you to checkin. Thumbs up for that.

Than you select a spot and the first thing you have to do is enter the name of the user or person that is with you. That’s cool too, still I’m not comfortable with this feature, since I couldn’t find a place in my settings to say that I don’t want other people to checkin for me in a place.

And that’s it, your checkin is done. No comments, nothing! Now you create a story. A story? Really? What is this? Alice in wonderland?

But now the part that I can’t really understand is why is the share button only at the end of the process? Wouldn’t it be easy to just have some kind of checkbox before to share the checkin?

But ok, fine. I still can live with that.

So, I click share at the end because sometimes I like to share this information on Twitter. Than you chose the platform (Facebook, Foursquare or Twitter) And you get the message …Say something fabulous“. I thought: Ok, this will be the message to be displayed with my sharing. But no such luck.

I’ve done my sharing and this is what was sent to Twitter:

My message was no where to be found. Well I don’t know if this is a bug, or if this is the way it should work. If it’s a bug, it’s really annoying, if not it’s just plain stupid. Still if it’s a bug that should be the standard message on Gowalla. Again, a story? Really?

Then I had another problem, a known problem already on the last version of gowalla. when you’re checking in and you want to add a photo, you have to take a photo you can’t simply add a pre-taken photo from your gallery. Guys this is a feature that is present on almost all the apps that let you add a photo to something.

And finally the last problem. I don’t live in a big city, so there’s not that many spots, many of them I have to create them myself. I was on the app back and forth looking for the place to do that. Out of my frustration last night I sent a Tweet to gowalla and see if they could help me out. And they did.

Yes I was the one that couldn’t find the option but I’m sorry to say, I still can’t find the option on my Droid, maybe they took it out again on Android since that isn’t the first time they do it.

And I’m telling you, I was one of those guys that added a lot of spots, and after that I always went to the website and correct the place, since gowalla never did a great job putting the spot on the right place, even with GPS on.

The Guide part of the app is great, I can’t enjoy it where I live. But it looks great. But I still think the checkin process needs some real tuning.

So the main problem with Gowalla now is that it was great and now it’s boring and unfriendly to use. Checking in should be a quick and painless process. And a story telling thingy.

Give me your thoughts on the new Gowalla app.

Also view the 3 articles on the Gowalla Blog since version 4 is out. Check the comments and you’ll see that I’m not alone with this frustration.

  1. A new Gowalla
  2. Day One
  3. Thanks For Your Feedback (yes, even for the stuff you wrote in ALL CAPS) (The CEO admitting the errors, for me this was a big step. Admitting their errors is the only way to save the product)

PS: Gowalla is doing a great job on Twitter, they always answered my questions and if you go to their page they are always helping people out. For that thumbs up.


Like it? Tweet it.

"The new Gowalla approach" via @marcogmonteiro