As we check-in with check-in apps this week, we find that there is news concerning two of the biggest apps in the genre – Booyah’s MyTown and Gowalla. First, MyTown has now expanded internationally, while rumors are beginning to circulate concerning Google and a potential Gowalla acquisition.
Check-In From Abroad With MyTown
Booyah has announced (on their official blog) that users in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom will now be able to get in on the check-in, business-owning fun of MyTown, as the app is now available on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad in those countries.
As with the American version, the international version of MyTown is completely free, and will feature the same features we take advantage of here in the States. The app will utilize the Google Maps API to display the 20 most popular places near a user’s current location, and will also allow for the game’s newest feature – product check-ins. For those unfamiliar with that feature, it allows you to scan bar codes on particular products (after solving short riddles to decipher what the product in question is) to receive special prizes in the game.
More countries will be receiving the app in the coming weeks.
Is Google Thinking of Acquiring Gowalla?
In other check-in news, Mobile Marketing Watch has begun swirling rumors that Google may bethinking of acquiring Gowalla. They have quoted Google CEO Eric Schmidt as saying that “Foursquare and Gowalla are pretty impressive. They show you the power of mobile/social/local. Google will play in that market in a lot of ways.”
But how? After the unquestionable disappointment found with Google’s Dodgeball, which had the potential to be a major player in the check-in arena, Google doesn’t seem to have much of a leg to stand on. That is, unless TechCrunch’s MG Siegler is correct in his assumption that Google is looking to buy Gowalla. Here’s his full quote on the matter:
“I bet Google is going to buy Gowalla at some point in the future. This isn’t based on anything concrete (well, I guess other than Schmidt bringing it up a few times). But that team’s commitment to design, gaming, and location seems to be a great fit for what Google is looking for.”
Sure, this is nothing but pure speculation at this point, but it raises an interesting thought. What if Google does buy Gowalla? Suddenly, the search giant would have just as much of a footing in the check-in arena as Gowalla and MyTown, and would be able to tackle foursquare head-on for dominance, with the help of a league of Google fans at its back.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated if this situation progress past rumors.