While the upcoming Mango release of Windows Phone brings native support for Facebook Places to Windows Phone 7, Gowalla and Foursquare are trying their might to keep the community hooked to their service.
I’m a Foursquare user since forever (and a Super User), and have just sampled Gowalla for the heck of it. Foursquare had a false start with Windows Phone 7 in many ways. Although, Foursquare has had a Windows Phone 7 app since the first day of Marketplace, it would not make any list of great Windows Phone 7 apps. Also, it wasn’t an effort from Foursquare but Microsoft since they had an interest of having apps for major social networks on the day of launch of Windows Phone 7.
The app didn’t get any feature update all these months, and realizing the customer sentiments, Foursquare started to point to 4th & Mayor, another Foursquare app for Windows Phone 7, from its homepage. 4th & Mayor, developed by a Microsoft employee – Jeff Wilcox, is a great Foursquare app with extra information and better user experience.
Just when I was starting to get annoyed with Foursquare’s lack of commitment to Windows Phone 7 (a generic mobile-based service ought to be on every platform) and thinking of drifting away, Foursquare gets into the game and how! Foursquare has released the v2.0 of their Windows Phone 7 app, and it looks slick.
The app is a complete overhaul and includes new features like check-in history and an option to explore places. The app has a vivid UI inspired by the Metro design philosophy. Interestingly, technically this isn’t v2.0 of the app. The app installs separately, and does not update the previously installed Foursquare app. The only negative in the otherwise great app is speed – 4th & Mayor (now updated to v2.1) is quicker.
The reason my annoyance with Foursquare was pushing me to Gowalla was obvious. Gowalla launched their Windows Phone 7 app this week, and although I wasn’t a Gowalla user, the nice app impressed me. Gowalla, in spite of the bumpy road for Foursquare on Windows Phone 7, has been quite late to the party.
With Gowalla for Windows Phone 7, you get all the features of Gowalla in a cool new interface that emphasizes the quick and clean Windows Phone 7 experience. The app has a nice panorama implementation, and includes the ability to post check-ins to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr easily. Gowalla for Windows Phone 7 includes an exclusive feature that lets you explore nearby photos shown on Bing maps.
Foursquare got the first dibs in location-based social network (for me, and most of my friends), and I’m sticking with it for some more months. If you’ve been a Gowalla user, the app gives you plenty of reasons to stay with the service. Let’s see how the apps are updated for the Mango release later this year, and this competition will be interesting to watch. Facebook Places, anyone?