During the early days of location-based mobile apps, Foursquare almost had a strong competitor. Remember Gowalla? Actually Gowalla never really closed down. It has just been quiet for such a long time, refusing to compete seriously with Foursquare and its many new features added for the past couple of months. But that was before. Now, Gowalla is making a comeback with site redesign, new features, and updates to its Android app. So, what’s up with Gowalla. If you’ve installed the update, you’ll notice that as soon as you fire up the app, a new default main screen will great you. Notice the difference? Of course you should, because it’s pretty obvious. The part of the screen is now occupied by icons representing the different country guides which Gowalla calls as Social Guides. These guides are culled from the best of what’s local, the places your friends love, and the recommendations from experts. These guide contain various helpful information about the popular places worldwide. The information contained in these guide include Recommended Spots, List and Information about the different places featured in the social guides. Inside the guides as you browse different spots, you can “love” the spot by simply tapping on the pink heart button. Gowalla’s Social Guides currently covers guides for more than 60 cities. These guides include photos, highlights and experiences from your friends, locals and experts. In additon, Gowalla has also partnered with popular areas and has prepared specific guides for them. The previous location check-in feature is still on. You can check in to the place where you are right now by simply tapping on the Friends tab on the top part of your Android phone’s screen. A new screen will come out displaying where your Gowalla friends are right now. Your friends’ badges and profile photo are also displayed on this screen. To check-in to your location, simply tap on the “Where are you” option. You will then be brought to a new window displaying Nearby Spots to your current location. You can scroll through the menu and simply tap your location if it is listed. If not, you can manually add a new spot. Gowalla has also revamped the check-in feature of their app. Now, you can add highlights and photos as you check-in to a place. You can also add friends who are with you (similar to friend tagging of Facebook). Additionally, if you see a  Gowalla user whom you want to connect with but you don’t want to be friends with because he/she is not your friend, you can “Follow” that user instead and you’ll receive updates when the person checks-in.          Overall, the new Gowalla Android app appears to be a well-thought of redesign. The question that remains to be answered now is whether these new features and theme will make Gowalla catch up with the popularity of Foursquare and Facebook’s check-in feature?  

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