Tag Archives: Gowalla

Foursquare – getting their mojo on

Ah I guess my prediction of the demise of 4Square was slightly premature…based on a recent graphic from Silicon Alley Insider, 4Square is doing just fine thank you very much.

Granted 4Square is still very far behind when it comes to users – under 8million – compared to the likes of Twitter (190 million) or Facebook (over 500 million). However, the ability of 4Square to weather the “places” storm and actually grow at a rapid pace bodes well for the NYC based firm. They recently announced adding more Groupon type features – allowing for their merchants to offer more deals to users as well as promote and drive traffic through group coupons…like Groupon.

This could prove to be a very interesting space as Groupon and 4Square get ready to battle for the localized social media. I am sure that the likes of Google and Facebook will be watching this intently, could 4Square be an acquisition alternative to Groupon for Google? We shall see…for now just remember to check in for those deals!

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Filed under Current Events, Location Based Applications, Technology

Google to add asset to move into location based apps?

Rumor this morning that Google will purchase Groupon. For a small fee of $2.5b…hey maybe they could sue SAP as well and recoup half that money!  Groupon allows users to find local deals, coupons and share with your social network. It also leans on mobility as it allows you to download coupons and use your mobile device as the de facto coupon, wonder if this move away from clipping coupons has impacted the scissor industry. It would be a powerful asset for Google and could be tied into assets already leveraged by Google, primarily their powerful Google maps. Or could this also push Google more into the location based application world of Place, Foursquare and Gowalla?

Clearly Facebook has lost a lot of momentum with Places, they seem to now know what to do with the supposed Foursquare killer, maybe Google has seen an opportunity to dive into the space. I could see Google turning around and also acquiring Foursquare or Gowalla and rolling it into a Groupon offering. When you check in via Foursquare, Google could then push coupons from Groupon…Foursquare already does this when there is a “deal” close to where you check in, but it could be that much more powerful with the Groupon offerings. Interesting rumor to say the least.

Another salvo in the Facebook v Google battle?

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Filed under Location Based Applications, Social media

Gowalla and Foursquare still alive and kicking.

I guess the demise of Foursquare and Gowalla at the hands of Facebook’s Places have yet to come to fruition. I realize my data set is small…probably statistically insignificant….but the activity via Places has appeared to have dropped off. After it was announced, there was a rush to “check in” via Places, the ability to do so via the Facebook app was a no brainer. For a while, I would see many places check ins on my Facebook updates…but recently that has dropped off to a trickle.

Clearly Places has missed out on one aspect – the ability to acquire simplistic, yet highly competitive and addictive pins, badges, mayorships, stamps…..Anyone who has a young child realizes how valuable stickers are to them, this has been replicated by location based social networks. Right now Places just allows you to tell your friends where you are…as do the other location based services. Until Facebook provides users cyber rewards for their efforts, Gowalla and Foursquare will continue to have their audiences and supporters.

Question remains – can this last for both pioneers in location based social media?

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Privacy…what does it mean?

An out take from JiveWorld10, was a key note from the founder of cellular telephony – Martin Cooper – who started off his presentation with the statement: “Privacy is dead.” A bold statement but one that has been expressed by many others, including the king of social media Mark Zuckerberg who stated that how we view privacy has changed. See his comments from his TechCrunch interview:

So does this mean our world is turn on its head and our private lives will be splashed all over Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, YouTube …. at some level yes.  However a couple of caveats.

First, the power of social media is user created content. Therefore if you do not want to have something out in cyberspace…do not put it there. When someone complains that their privacy has been violated yet they forget that they uploaded drunken pictures from their night out via their iPhone and checked in to every place they went via Gowalla…um just check your own behavior.

Second, with all that is being shared, uploaded, tweeted, blogged, checked-in to name a number of tools we use to participate in social media the volume of noise can protect some of our privacy. Our personal lives on cyberspace can become buried very quickly in the waves of noise that is being produced every second of the day.

By no means do I think we should display our social security numbers, home addresses and credit card numbers on our Linkedin profiles, however I also believe the issue of privacy is not as major a problem as it might be portrayed.

We still control what we share. Worried about Facebook and privacy, don’t post pictures you do not want others to see, watch what you write on your wall…tenants that hold true in the non cyber world!  Too many of use enjoy the power and flexibility of social media sites without thinking of the potential consequences. There is no doubt that as we become more connected there is more information that is accessible, there is no doubt that we must be more cautious with information but much of this comes down to personal responsibility and common sense.

Privacy is dead long live privacy.

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Facebook Places the Foursquare killer

Much was made this past week with Facebook releasing their location based tool – Places.  Much of the fanfare around the launch was more about the logo that Facebook chose to use –

Hmmmm funny looks like the number 4…in a square, and who is Facebook looking to destroy with this new app…Foursquare! And they will do so, as well as Gowalla the other contender to own this space. Why? Simply put these two creators of the location based social services do not have any real differentiators to avoid being overwhelmed by the social media 800lb gorilla. Of course if you asked them they are less boring!

  • Yes Gowalla uses GPS to ensure that where you “check in” is really where you say you are, but since you are checking in via a smart-phone and since they all tend to already have GPS how hard will it be for Places to leverage this technology if needed?
  • Foursquare and Gowalla users have been more selective to who they include in their network. I agree with this partially. The more I thought about this I realized that the average user on Facebook has 130 friends, a lot? Well when you consider there are some with friends in the 1000s or higher you realize that many have single digit friends in their network. To me this means these users will not distinguish between someone they want to have as a friend on Facebook versus someone to follow them on Foursquare or Gowalla.
  • Foursquare and Gowalla have a switching costs vis a vis the levels users have reached. Um okay. Until that digital trophy or star I have pays the rent, gets me a job or puts clothing on my kids the switching cost is minimal. It just means I will need to check in faster with Places to get back to that “level.” I am also quite certain that Facebook will develop the cute and fun awards you earn!
  • Location location location, since the location based locations are created by the community, how hard will that be for Facebook to leverage its enormous network to build up? Plus Facebook Places allows you to check in to virtual locations, something the others cannot do yet.

I just do not see services like Foursquare and Gowalla being able to beat the network effect and sheer mass that Facebook will bring to the table. For Facebook it is an easy “sell” to its users – you are already using Facebook as your hub for social media and it is more geared towards the personal side of social media so adding a location based service, one of the most personal of social  media, is a natural extension.

I would also surmise that heavy users of Foursquare are also on Facebook, but the inverse is not necessarily the case. For those on Facebook but not Foursquare, why go through the process of rebuilding a network when you can just leverage the one you already have. Those of us who have used Foursquare and Gowalla we are probably already on Facebook, and since we will have more friends leveraging Places we will certainly not want to allow some location based rookie become mayor or have cooler stamps that us!

It was nice to have you around Foursquare and Gowalla, I wish I had more time to checkin with  you.

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Filed under Location Based Applications, Social media, Technology