If you’re not familiar with GoWalla, the Austin TX based start up is a competitor to Foursquare that made a unique stamp, on at least the way I do social check in, by encouraging pin earning trips and being about where you’ve been moreso than where you are right now. GoWalla took the hipster must check in out and made it, in my opinion, more of a personal time capsule of travel.
GoWalla had built a fun albeit qwirky feature into their system called items. You could check in one place and receive a backpack that someone left there (virtual mind you) and then you could leave say a pair of headphones, a briefcase, a phone or whatever for the next person. While there’s really no point to this besides fun, it was fun.
More after the break
GoWalla is also known for their pin system. Rather than awarding mayorships for checking into the same starbucks 50 gazillion times, you were awarded for seeing new places, trying new things. Again a virtual award but nonetheless an award. This is where GoWalla earned a permanent place on my phone. Through the past two years that GoWalla has been around, I’ve traveled more places than any other time in my life. GoWalla gives you new “pins” for each state you travel to and each country you travel to as well. GoWalla became my own virtual passport, getting “stamp marks” even for traveling in different states.
In fact earlier this year with some extra time on my hands and needing to slow down and reflect I took the cross country train from Washington DC to San Francisco for events. The three day trip was quite relaxing but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take into consideration the GoWalla badges I’d earn along the way. Also we frequently do a partnership with Wilson Electronics to test out their products in the most strenuous on road conditions. This led us to drive coast to coast to CES and also SXSW. All the while checking in on GoWalla too.
In all I have 38 state pins in 7 countries (and that’s in the last two years only).
While GoWalla said they would keep the pins they said they would trim the fat. However this portion of their blogpost led to some confusion for which I’ve reached out to GoWalla for comment:
Pins will remain a part of Gowalla, but much of the fat surrounding them will be trimmed.
In a few weeks, sometime prior to our next update, we will turn off awarding of new Items. Later this year, the feature will be removed from the app, and then from our API altogether. We are, however, exploring a way for our users to download the data associated with their Items as well as the other deprecated features at some point after the update.
They also announced they were getting rid of the notes feature however it may be trimmed down and brought back as well.
I’m hoping that they don’t get rid of geo-location award pins on GoWalla if they do it will be time for at least me to say goodbye to GoWalla. I also hope that they aren’t making these changes to streamling and be more like FourSquare. GoWalla with their cute Wallaby logo and fun user interface was never as “boring” as Foursquare and I hope it doesn’t get that way.