The news is spreading that Facebook has acquired Gowalla. Many of the reports are focusing on the team being acq-hired to help with the Timeline or perhaps with Facebook’s mobile apps. But I think these angles are missing something – the fact that Gowalla’s experience could really enhance Facebook’s stickiness.
Here is something I wrote just after to the latest version of Gowalla went public.
“A check in is a very “thin” experience. There isn’t much to a check in besides; I’m here and so are these people. Everything else on these services revolves around the check in. Gowalla is trying to do something different and enhance that experience to make it more enjoyable and perhaps fun. That’s great. However, I think this is where Gowalla might lose me. I use Foursquare to check in because it is very quick to do so. I switched from Gowalla to Foursquare for this exact reason. And now with “stories” Gowalla seems to be trying to slow this process down even more. So they must be going after a very specific individual that wants to share their experiences with people in certain places, and who are willing to take the time to do that, rather than simply sharing their current location. I’m OK with this but it may not be for me. We’ll see.”
The part of Gowalla that made me switch could actually be the part of Facebook that keeps its users on the pages even longer than they are now.
I may have to let this sit a little longer. But I assume this will be good for the Gowalla and I’m happy they’ve seen something for their hard work.