March 6, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
Gowalla Android users can rejoice in the fact that Gowalla 1.0 is now available in the Android Market. Though a beta .apk has been circulating over the past few weeks, Gowalla released the official Android app for their check-in service just in time to duke it out with Foursquare at South by Southwest.
Both Gowalla and Foursquare use “check-ins” as a social game for reviewing points of interest. Users open the app and see a list of nearby bars, clubs, businesses, restaurants, and other entertainment venues, then earn badges or pins by visiting those locations and checking-in via GPS. The resulting check-ins reveal a location’s popularity or virtues, thus making a city guide for socializing rather than social networking.
The similarities between Foursquare and Gowalla pit them in a race for users and market share. Foursquare is currently winning, but Gowalla could potentially make this a more interesting fight among Android users because their app is actually very good while the Foursquare Android app could use some serious retooling. [Ed note: Gowalla has its own bugs that need to be worked out, so forward those complaints/suggestions here.] Both networks will be in stiff competition next week as the annual media, music, and movie festival South by Southwest (SXSW) invades Austin, Texas March 12-21st.