With the release of version 3.0, Gowalla has taken the lead in location based services as “the richest virtual check-in application available”. According to their CEO, Josh Williams, v3.0 is meant to begin reshaping the company into “a socially curated guidebook”, or in other words become a portable summary of things to do, informed by the opinions of your friends and connections on the Gowalla social network. This is a significant pivot for the LBS provider because up to this point they had appeared to be losing ground to Facebook Places, Twitter and Foursquare with regard to user base; this new version will allow Gowalla users to share and aggregate information across these different platforms and provide an “application-agnostic” location based check-in service for consumers. This shift is particularly relevant for retailers to take note of because it represents a major opportunity for them to begin generating brand and store awareness across all of these social media platforms simultaneously. The net effect for these manufacturers and merchants should be an ever-accelerated sharing of data from a consumer to their group of friends and followers, allowing customer reviews, thoughts and opinions to move across the spectrum of virtual friendship at unprecedented speeds. As unbelievable as it may sound, this release of Gowalla 3.0 means that information sharing via the internet and social media just got even faster!
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