Foursquare vs. Gowalla

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Difference between Foursquare and Gowalla

Social Networking has come to the iPhone-and has in fact been around for a while now-and two names that stand out in sharp relief against the rest of the competition in this still-relatively barren playing field are Foursquare and Gowalla. While there are a smattering of titles available on the market for the innovative device, it is these two that have garnered the most attention from industry observers as well as the public. Let's take a look at the relative strengths and drawbacks of each.


Data Coverage

Foursquare has always lagged behind Gowalla in terms of data coverage, although the developers of the app seem to have put in a lot of effort catching up. A number of new cities are now included in the coverage, and recent developments have opened up the app, allowing it to be used from anywhere in the world.

Nevertheless, Foursquare still falls short of the staggering 7,500 cities lineup of Gowalla, with a decidedly meager offering of only 100 cities. While the more skeptical users may doubt Gowalla's claims, recent tests by independent sources show that Gowalla does indeed offer superior coverage to Foursquare, with easy access from city centers as well as outlying areas. While Foursquare can be found easily enough in major urban centers, it is practically non-existent in many suburbs.


Both apps perform almost equally well in this aspect, allowing users an easy way to keep track of friends. In addition, both Foursquare and Gowalla allow you to "see" whether any of your friends are close by, or if they might drop in.

Foursquare does have a slight edge in that it offers a "tips" feature that clues you in on some of the more salient points of places that you visit. In addition, quite a few providers have begun to offer perks to designated "mayors" of Foursquare, although these haven't yet reached a level wherein they would be of considerable benefit to users.

User Interface

Gowalla again takes top honors in this category, with a user interface that is quite impressive to say the least. With no less than seven lines of data on the screen (compared to Foursquare's five), Gowalla provides a lot more on-screen detail than its rival.

Don't get us wrong; Foursquare does have a serviceable enough user interface. But "serviceable" doesn't really measure up to the excellent display that Gowalla provides. Add to that the wealth of well-rendered icons and small-but-useful touches such as seamless Facebook integration, and Gowalla simply comes in way ahead of Foursquare in the user interface stakes.



  • Recently expanded its data coverage
  • Can be used from anywhere in the world
  • Support for only 100 cities
  • Allows easy tracking of friends
  • Helpful "tips" feature
  • Clean and easy to use UI
  • UI is a bit basic and unremarkable


  • Support for more than 7,500 cities
  • Excellent UI
  • Easy to access from virtually anywhere
  • Seamless Facebook integration
  • Large selection of icons offered

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