Gowalla enhances Spot Highlights as it approaches 1 million users

Gowalla enhances Spot Highlights as it approaches 1 million users

Gowalla is on target to hit one million users this month, and those users have now created and visited over 2.5 million locations (or ‘Spots’) around the world. Now the Texas-based startup is tweaking its simple location review feature, Highlights, to make it a little more useful.

When Highlights were introduced to Gowalla back in September 2010, we described them as a useful way of simplifying location reviews while the startup itself called them ““Little rewards you can give to places that are important to your life”. The number of Highlights has now been increased to 40, including practical recommendations like ‘Burgers We Love’, ‘Live Music’ and ‘Mixologist’, and more self-expressive options like ‘My Happy Place’ or ‘WTF’.

Highlights themselves are set to become a little more integrated into the overall Gowalla experience too. An update to Gowalla for iPhone is due next week that will make them a more integral part of the spot view, and you’ll soon be able to browse Spots based on Highlight categories. This means that, for example, you’ll be able to see all the venues tagged as “Pizza We Love” – useful when you’re looking for a bite to eat.

While reviewing locations using Highlights, essentially visual ‘tags’, may seem less useful than a written review or a score out of five, they’re certainly easier to apply and a little more fun.

Highlights can now be added directly from Spot pages via a tweaked design being rolled out today. Other enhancements to the pages include People view, Photos and Highlights being easier to browse, and each location’s map now offerings links through to Google Maps directions. Sharing Spots to Facebook and Twitter and bookmarking within your Gowalla account now have dedicated options too.

Finally, Gowalla has good news for user of its Android app – later this month it’s set to be updated to match the enhanced features recently added to the iPhone version.

While the startup may be some way behind its most often mentioned rival Foursquare, which now has 6 million users, Gowalla clearly strikes a chord with a particular type of user and the company is staying true to the particular blend of the fun and the practical that has been its USP to date.

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