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Gowalla for Android offers great ideas for fun things to do

by Caitlin M. Foyt

With as many check-in apps as there are in the Android marketplace, they're starting to feel like a dime a dozen. Gowalla, though, has some unique features that make it worth a try.

Gowalla is an app that allows you to share where you are at the moment, see where your friends like to go, and, in turn, learn about new places and fun things to do. First you download the app, create an account, and then start searching for the friends by linking the application with your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

If you haven't gotten into the habit already, every time you leave your house or apartment, make note of where you end up, using Gowalla. A lot of these "spots" are already in the app's database, and they're places like restaurants, movie theaters, banks, concert venues, stadiums, the grocery store, parks, boutiques and hotels.

If you venture to some kind of public place, and there isn't a spot already listed on Gowalla, you can make one of your own. I didn't encounter the issue myself during my trial run with the app, but I have heard from a couple of different friends that this particular feature has a few hiccups that need to be ironed out. Apparently, sometimes the app creates your new spot for you, but the site will end up in the wrong place on the map.

I encountered an issue two separate times where, just after I launched the app, an error notification popped up. I had to exit Gowalla, head back to my home screen, and reboot.

One really cool feature on Gowalla is the app's "Trips" tab, which lists fun happenings that have been submitted by other local users. Not only does this portion of the application give you heads-up on any upcoming fun events, but it can also give you ideas of activities to do later. The activities are organized by category, according to what might be appropriate for you to do when your family comes to town or if you want a romantic night out with your significant other. If you find anything that sounds appealing, you have the option to bookmark it for later.

I really like Gowalla because it has a lot of color and personality. The app has a pristine look, but it's still dotted with vibrant yellows, pinks, blues and greens. There are stamps and pins to be earned and you can even add photos to your posts.

Gowalla seems to be attracting a lot of different users, which is a key element I look for when choosing a social networking platform.

These kind of apps are probably more fun if you live in a more heavily populated city area, just because there will be more users to interact with and more sights and happenings to discover.

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