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Gowalla iPhone Application Empowers Users to Explore, Discover and Share Locations

9/25/09 - Alamofire announced upgrades to Gowalla -- a free, location-based application that rewards users for visiting places with their iPhones. The public beta of Gowalla, which was unveiled earlier in 2009 at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference (SXSW) in Austin, is a true GPS-enabled, location-based social network whose content base is created by its users on iPhone 3G and 3GS.

"The new Gowalla is a significant milestone for the service and sets it apart from other location-based social networks," said Josh Williams, CEO of Alamofire. "We think of Gowalla as a 'social serendipity service,' meaning that it was created to give users the ability to have fun and easily share their experiences with their friends anywhere in the world -- and hopefully make some new ones along the way."

With Gowalla 1.2 (currently on the iPhone 3G and 3GS platform, with plans to expand to other GPS-enabled smartphones such as BlackBerry and Android in the future), users can view nearby points of interest, such as shops, restaurants or museums. By leveraging GPS coordinates, Gowalla users can even discover spots that aren't registered to a physical address, taking them beyond cities to include more secluded spots such as the best vantage point on the Golden Gate Bridge or the most difficult hike and bike trail in Austin, Texas. Once at a spot, users can "check in" using their GPS-enabled iPhones, collect a stamp for their Gowalla passport and leave a personalized note for future visitors. Users can also create new points of interest.

The latest version of the Gowalla application offers the following:

- Facebook and Twitter Integration -- Building your Gowalla network is easier than ever before now that users are able to connect their Facebook and Twitter accounts with Gowalla. With this integration, Gowalla updates can also appear in users' Facebook status updates and/or Twitter feeds, and users can import existing contact lists into Gowalla from these other social networking communities.

- Enhanced User Contribution -- Gowalla 1.2 gives users the ability to not only check in and create new spots; they can also comment on their spots as well as spots of their friends.

- Increased Functionality -- Users now have more options within the application, including the ability to filter spots established or visited by friends in a user's network as well as view spots in your physical vicinity via the GPS functionality with Google Maps.

Even prior to an official public launch and with minimal promotion, Gowalla -- whose content is entirely user generated -- has established a social networking community with more than 15,000 unique user-created spots in more than 1,300 cities around the world, including locations in all 50 states in the U.S. as well as more than 20 countries including France, Kuwait, Mexico, Spain and Japan.

By Robert Hoskins

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