To all my iPhone toting Facebook friends: Please join Gowalla!
Gowalla is a new location-based social game.
The basic premise of Gowalla is that you launch the program on your iPhone and check in anytime you are somewhere interesting. Coffee Shops, Restaurants, Parks, Landmarks. Anywhere interesting. Gowalla gives you a list of nearby locations where other users have previously checked in, or if you've found a new place, you can add it. Gowalla only lets you check in if your GPS is within a certain distance of a known location. Every location has a beautiful icon which is "stamped" on your Gowalla passport. The more great places you go, the more beautiful stamps you get to show off on your Passport. It showcases popular "featured" locations including some near my house that I didn't know existed, like a Graffiti Wall in SODO that anyone can go paint on. It also features "Trips" people have put together to send you off on a little tour around the city if you're bored.
How is is social?
Gowalla is integrated with Facebook, so every time you check in, it can update your status (if you want) to show where you've checked in including your pretty new passport stamp. The iPhone app also features a list of your friends (mine is short, thus the blog post) including where they most recently checked in. If you choose, you can be notified when friends check in and maybe even go meet up with them.
How is it a game?
Well, it's not fully baked yet, but in addition to getting credit for visiting cool places and having attractive stamps on your passport to show for it, you get these weird little things called "Items". Like Stamps, they're extremely attractive digital bling for your profile. You pick up and drop off items along the way (you can only carry 10 at a time) and each item tells a story of all of the people who have held it and places it has been. It's a little odd, but actually quite fun.
Please join me!
I think location information adds a great new twist to status updates, and while I've been waiting for Facebook to add this functionality for ages, I fear that when they finally do implement it, it won't be as fun and engaging as Gowalla's. So, please join, connect to Facebook and let's support this great startup.
Search for Gowalla in the iPhone App Store (or visit online).