LBS mainstay Gowalla today debuted a major 3.0 update to its iPhone app — one that brings two major enhancements users have been asking for; a unified checkin solution and the ability to utilize a synced “places” database between Gowalla and other LBS apps like Foursquare and Facebook Places.
As the largest update to date, Gowalla 3.0 for iPhone now includes the ability for users to not only checkin on Gowalla itself, but to share those same checkins on Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter and even Tumblr. The app now provides a solid “unified checkin solution,” which is something die-hard users and the industry in general has been waiting for. In addition, you can now see checkins from all of your friends even if they don’t use Gowalla at all.
More importantly is the work Gowalla has done in terms of its “places” database. It’s one thing to simply pull in checkins from other services to show you within the app and allow you to checkin as well, but Gowalla has actually done the manual labor to sync up venues between their own place database, Facebook’s place database, Foursquare’s place database, and even Twitter’s place database. The benefit to this is that when you checkin across all the services in Gowalla’s app, they sync up to the places in those other services as well.
Another interesting feature new to version 3.0 is called “notes,” and while seemingly simple in nature, Gowalla has big plans for the functionality. Notes allows you to easily leave personalized messages for any Gowalla user at any location around the world. When you create a note for someone, they get an email telling them about it, but they can’t see it until they show up and checkin at the venue it was tagged to.
This is useful for something like a grocery list, where you could leave a note with your list at a grocery store so that when you checkin, it’s sitting there ready for you. Beyond simple use cases like this, Gowalla envisions things like leaving micropayments or free drinks for friends at various venues. A little creativity with this feature could produce some pretty impressive functionality. If you’re a Gowalla user, head on over to the App Store and download version 3.0, you won’t be disappointed.