The release of the Gowalla 3 software comes with the soaring popularity of services that let people use smartphones to let friends know where they are and what they are doing. “We are basically connecting all these disparate services to make it easy to share check-ins,” said Gowalla co-founder Josh Williams. New Gowalla features include being able to leave “notes” that friends receive only after checking in at a spot. “I’m pumped about that,” Williams said of the note feature. “We don’t know what’s going to happen when we unleash it into the wild.”
The potential exists for it to evolve into being able to leave a gift card that a friend could redeem after checking in at a business, or let operators of establishments have deals waiting in messages for Gowalla users.Gowalla has attracted more than 600,000 users since a raw version of the service launched in early 2009. About 45 percent of Gowalla use is outside the United States. Friends at Gowalla share pictures and comments from places they visit, earning creatively
designed “passport stamps” along the way as souvenirs of adventures.
Last month, the Walt Disney Co. teamed with Gowalla to let people create virtual scrapbooks by “checking-in" at various spots throughout the theme parks. Versions of the Gowalla application crafted for Blackberry, Android and other smartphones will be released in January.