Gowalla for iPhone is a social app from some fine folks in Austin, TX that allows you to check-in to locations, see where your friends are checking-in, collect items and complete trips. For those of you not familiar with the whole "check-in" craze, the idea is you travel around town, land at a "spot" such as the movie theater, gas station or restaurant, and then tap the Check-in button. When you do this a couple things happen:
There are some great social aspects to Gowalla, but let's first talk about items. After installing Gowalla on the iPhone, you receive three items. You can keep and cheris these items in a vault, never to be used, or you can swap for other items at Spots when you check in. You are also randomly given items when you check into locations. I found myself without an item for a few weeks, but fear not, I received two items randomly twice in a day! Other then exchanging an item at a Spot, you can leave an item at that location if now one has. This will give you "founder" status.
What I particularly love about Gowalla compared to it's competition, is that it is not focused on mayorships or point leaderboards. I tend to think I go a out a fair amount and explore the city with my family, but there are some people that go out even more than I do and I will never catch up to them in points. Gowalla's main attraction for me is the item collection feature.
For those adventurous types, there are trips. Trips are not built into the iPhone but are on the website. When you follow these trips, you earn a special badge. For example, I will be visiting Chicago and I am going to try to complete the Chicago trip.
To find friends to share with, Gowalla gives you some tools to can scan your address book, Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail, and you can always find by name.
All of this is rendered with beautiful icons and graphics that really allows you to enjoy the experience of the application. The only major detractor for me is that the application is still a little slow, but boy is it pretty...
Gowalla is available now in the App Store for free [Free- iTunes Link]