With geolocation based social networks moving towards combining check-ins with deals and rewards, which was never part of their vision, the team at Gowalla recently sat down to dream it all up again.
The question Gowalla CEO Josh Williams posed to his team was, “How do we create something more akin to a social Lonely Planet that gives people recommendations on where to explore, whether locally or abroad, but with a social aspect layered on top of that?”
Last night, I caught up with Gowalla’s Director of Business Development Andy Ellwood at Fenway Park in Boston and had a good look at the new app which, as of this morning, is now available for download.
While the check-in service is still a core feature of Gowalla’s, it is no longer the principal service. The primary focus has now shifted to travel and storytelling.
Stories, Lists and Guides
Gowalla’s evolution of ideas in the location based space has resulted in stories that make up lists that are analogous to chapters of a book. Naturally, the lists are linked together to make up tailered guides which can be thought of as a modern take on the classic travel guide books.
Travel Bloggers Can Make Their Content Interactive
One opportunity the updated service presents to travel bloggers is the ability to revamp old content to make it interactive. For example, take a travel blogger who has an older post titled “Top 10 Free Things to Do in Paris.” That blogger can enter each of the top 10 items as a story with up to 300 characters of text explaining why that item made their list. The stories are then summarized and wrapped up into a Gowalla list that includes a link back to the content on the blogger’s site.
Gowalla has also added a ‘love’ button which is similar to the Facebook ‘like’ button. In terms of how lists are displayed in Gowalla’s guides, those that receive the most ‘love’ will rise to the top.
The new app also includes the option of creating guides for an event on the fly. For instance, if a blogtrip were planned, travel bloggers could create an interactive event guide for the trip and create stories as they go.