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Gowalla, one of the earliest and best-known services that lets you share your location with friends, today released the newest version of its Android application, dubbed Gowalla 3, according to the company’s blog.
The company claims the new Android version is a much better experience than its iPhone app, though it appears to be similar based on several screen shots. Gowalla 3 was previously released for just the iPhone and included some interesting features, including being able to push check-ins to competing services Foursquare and Facebook Places.
More interestingly, the company is also unveiling its first attempt at a rewards system meant to deliver big saving deals to users based on location, according to Fast Company. The plan is to unveil the new product at South by Southwest, the annual film, music and interactive conference that attracts many startups and happens to be where Gowalla is headquartered. The new rewards feature may resemble popular group buying company Groupon, where users will have the opportunity to get substantial savings for a particular brand or local business based on their check in location.
The rewards system reminds me a lot of what several competing services have recently launched, including Loopt, who unveiled last week that it will begin to launch customized and timely rewards to users at SXSW. Upon launching the application, users would be notified if a big deal was available. Loopt’s founder and chief executive Sam Altman told me these types of deals would be limited, possibly to just one a day, so that users would not be constantly bombarded.
Gowalla is based in Austin and has raised $10.4 million from Greylock Partners, Alsop-Louie Partners, and Founders Fund.