Gowalla + Facebook = Success

While the “ink isn’t dry” on the facebook acquisition of gowalla, the deal looks to be complete.  Over the weekend I found out about this potential acquisition and was particularly excited to hear about it.  I started using gowalla a few years back and enjoyed the look and feel much more to the quickly growing and now much larger alternative foursquare.  Personally, the fad of mobile check in faded quickly.  Although I liked the idea of collecting badges and “ownership” of locations, I quickly found the ease of facebook’s check in system much easier.  I didnt have to rely on an API and the odds were pretty good that i’d be using facebook at some point during my visit anyway.  Facebook wasn’t a chore to “check-in” but it felt like foursquare or gowalla were.   Additionally, my affinity for Texas startups is also in play.  I’m glad to see something good happen for the small but growing startup community in Texas.  This is a big win and a big statement for our lonestar talent.

well, I take back my statement about this being a big win for Texas startups.  Gowalla is being purchased for the talent, not the product.  While I am happy for the individuals being folded into facebook it is very unfortunate that gowalla will be shut down in january 2012. 


I can only hope that facebook incorporates some of the spunk and design that gowalla has infused in their core.


Hyper Local Advertising Thoughts

The great debate for local advertising has begun.  Local Advertising is the final frontier for companies trying to expose their brands to customers.  Popular “check-in” apps like Gowalla and Foursquare have become ubiquitous.  Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other major social players are all integrating social check-ins into their respective API’s, but what does this mean for us? We’re now volunteering our personal information about our habits and preferences to major companies.  These companies can use that data to create a revenue model on a global scale.  If I am a 20-something in addison who frequents the flying saucer, it doesn’t matter that I haven’t written my glowing review on yelp.  The fact that I have checked in on my phone every week for X weeks in a row shows brand loyalty, which is more important than a simple review.

Obviously, great reviews help businesses on a local level.  they help offset the unavoidable negative reviews from trolls and rare occasions of poor service.. (these reviews are inherit parts of business.  a negative experience has an exponentially higher likelyhood of being shared than a pleasurable experience)  But tangible check ins at a business are still under-appreciated and will definitely garner greater influence as the hyper local landscape smooths out.

I believe that in the next 18 months a business model that integrates the best aspects of groupon / livingsocial, yelp, and (insert any check-in service) will start to gain momentum.  If a business can offer real viable discounts and benefits to their loyal “follower’s” then the check-in model will grow and with that the revenue model for the companies building the API’s will be realized.

mac bandwagon jumper – part 1

I never thought I would say this… I am officially on the bandwagon to apple town. In full disclosure, I unknowingly started my journey to apple fandom 2 years ago when I purchase my first iPhone 3G. At the time I was completely blown away by the functionality this new device could offer.  I could download apps, play games, check my facebook, and drop calls…. oh and listen to my music.  Other than the network issues with ATT, I was in bliss.  The iPhone opened my world up with the ability to connect and interact with my friends at a whole new level.  I could now go to dinner with a group of buddies and completely ignore them while sitting at the table playing fieldrunners, angry birds, or flight control.  At first my friends would mock my disregard for companionship in public for my iPhone, but they soon would learn as they fell one by one into their addiction to the iPhone.  Soon we’d be a group of 4-8 people sitting at a bartop completely ignoring eachother while we engaged our devices to interact with friends not present.

The love affair with my new toy had begun.  For some reason, I found myself beginning to follow apple news and watching liveblogs from apple events on gizmodo and engadget.  I was excited about the 3GS, but decided to pass and wait for the iPhone 4.  As momentum and press built for the iPhone 4, I was completely hooked.  I followed the 4 leak story on a daily basis and was waiting for my chance to get my hand on the device that would redefine my redefined phone experience.    The 4 launched with mixed reviews from the antenna issues that “plagued” the iPhone 4.  I decided it would be in my best interest to wait a few months to see how the devices issues would play out.  Steve Jobs went on the TV and told everyone not to worry – good enough for me.  I had one problem… my phone was working fine.  There was no reason to upgrade.  A week before my 28th birthday (which would also be my first trip to vegas) I was in luck.  My phone magically stopped charging.  Instead of taking my 3G to one of the hundreds of “iPhone repair shops” popping up throughout the metroplex, I knew it was time for an upgrade.  Now, I was presented with a new issue.  Every single retailer was sold out.  For the first time in as long as I can remember I was without a phone.  For 5 days I was literally the most disconnected I had been since the late 90’s when I officially “cut the cord” and removed my landline permanently.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was a difficult period.  The first two days were the worst.  Checking facebook 10+ times a day was interrupted.  Texting my girlfriend and other friends was impossible.  To talk to anyone required access to my girlfriends cellphone, which she gladly supplied in the evenings.

24 hours before my trip, I heard a rumor that a few Apple Stores in DFW received shipments of the iPhone 4.  My Girlfriends cousin had received hers, and I was destined to find mine.  My first and last stop was the Apple Store in Northpark Mall (the same location of Dez Bryants recent troubles.)  I could now take my trip reconnected to my friends, family, and facebook, all in HD. Needless to say, my trip was a blast.  My friends were all amazing, and I had the opportunity to record our misadventures in 720p.  I downloaded and remixed video and pictures from the trip on the fly with a new app called iMovie.  I felt like a regular J.J. Abrams at this point.  It was amazing uploading high-quality video and photos of my friends and I, all set to the beat of Kanye West, without sitting at the keyboard once.  Steve Jobs was definitely on to something.

Shortly after my trip, Starcraft II came out, instead of buying the iPad, I upgraded my computer and found my long lost love for the Blizzard RTS.  The fall remained calm and my satisfaction with the iPhone remained at an all-time high.  I had no qualms paying between .99 and 1.99 for apps on a weekly basis.  My library of games and entertainment on my mobile device was growing steadily.  Then, I started hearing rumblings for the iPad 2….

More to come shortly.

Google Searchology – Mobile Keynotes

Today is Google’s Searchology.  It’s a time when Google unveils all the new tools related to search.  Here are some notes I listened to during my brief time viewing the conference.  I focused on mobile as I believe this section of search is going to be the main area of expansion over the next few years. 

Mobile search is growing faster than PC search

This is obvious.  With the introduction of the iPhone, Android enabled phones, and expansion of blackberry.  mobile search is growing faster than ever.  I completely agree with Google regarding this and I am interested to see how google monetizes adwords within the mobile platforms.

Challenge of devices – hundreds w/ widely varying capabilities

Google has had a difficult time creating a mobile platform that works seamlessly among all different types of phones and carriers while working with the strengths and weaknesses of each Technology.

Mobile search is inherently local. 

Mobile search is going to continue growing as the locality of mobile search allows for location specific results – specifically with with restaurants and services.

People use mobile search because:

  • complete 
Google has worked tirelessly to implement all the features of Google Search that are available on the desktop into the mobile platforms.  This allows the end-user all the benefits of their normal search within the mobile platform
  • easy – effortless to search ann get answers
As with the Desktop, by making the services easy to use, the end-user will receiver relevant and pertinent information at any given time – even remotely.
  • local – knows where I am and acts as such
By implementing local search via GPS, searching by location is a powerful tool both for businesses and searchers as it allows users to find locations around them. 

mobile web and web are different but google wants to enable users to reach all aspects of each platform

***google is combining search query history from your desktop with your mobile environment.***

In the coming weeks, if you are logged into your google account on your desktop and mobile phone and enter a query on either, you can review your search history on your phone and visa verse.  The presenters used a plane flight number query as an example for this new service.  In my humble opinion, this is an amazing feature that is going to mend the gap between mobile phone and desktop connectivity even further.  The ability to seamlessly utilize both services together is an amazing concept and should be taken advantage of to the highest extent.


That’s about it on the notes i took for Searchology – Mobile.  If I think of anything else I will surely update you guys asap.