New Gowalla app offers unified check-ins, friend updates

Fast Company

Gowalla is taking a page from media pundit Jeff Jarvis, who in a 2007 blog post said, “Cover what you do best, link to the rest.”

Gowalla is doing what it does best by acting as a “socially curated guidebook,” as CEO Josh Williams says. And it’s linking to its competitors –  Foursquare, Facebook Places and Twitter.

Austin Carr writes that the latest iPhone version of the app, which was released Thursday, turns Gowalla into a unified location tool. A Gowalla user can now connect the app to Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter and check in to all three services. They can also see their friends’ activity on each site.

This is a major shift in strategy for the location-based startup and one aimed at commoditizing the “check-in” experience in favor of tools and features that may be more easily differentiated, such as Gowalla’s curated trips. And playing off Jarvis’ advice, it’s also a great lesson for digital media organizations: when it comes to the Web and mobile, build on what you do best and integrate the rest.

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