Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Foursquare Thursday – Cross-posting to Gowalla

Picture this scenario: You’re an avid Foursquare user, but you’ve got some friends over at its main rival Gowalla. You want both your Foursquare and Gowalla friends to see you check-ins, but don’t want to have to manually check-in to both.

What you need is some way of cross-posting your checkins from one service to another. As it happens, there are (at least) three ways of doing this, and so today I’m going to review them.

1. Using the official Gowalla client

In a surprising move, version 3.0 of the Gowalla client allowed you to also check-in to Foursquare at the same time as Gowalla itself (checkins could also be shared to Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr). During the early days, venue matching was poor, but it has now improved to the point where many of your checkins on Gowalla will successfully appear on Foursquare. Any that don’t will still show as checkins but not at a recognised venue. If you add a venue on Gowalla, you can even enter the Foursquare venue ID to facilitate this integration, and I imagine those on the Gowalla Street Team can edit this for existing venues.

The downsides? There’s no confirmation from Gowalla that the Foursquare checkin was successful – you would still have to load the Foursquare app to look. You also won’t see how many points you gained, how far away from the mayorship you are or any of the tips. You will still receive push notifications if you become the mayor or unlock the badge, provided you have the Foursquare app on your phone and such notifications enabled.

This option is probably best if you’re primarily a Gowalla user but have some friends on Foursquare, and not the other way around.

2. Using cr.osspo.st

cr.osspo.st is a service in alpha testing that listens for Foursquare checkins and pushes them to Gowalla and Facebook – essentially, it works the other way to the official Gowalla client. The main advantage of this is that you can use the Foursquare app as normal, and take advantage of all of its built-in features – you don’t have to do anything extra to have your checkins appear on Gowalla.

Unfortunately, it’s not perfect; quite a few of my checkins didn’t make it over to Gowalla (just a couple of bars, my local supermarket and work over the past few days). cr.osspo.st does allow you to log in and view a list of failed cross-post entries, but it doesn’t show any for me. Still, it’s still in alpha testing so maybe it just needs time to improve.

3. Using Footfeed

I reviewed Footfeed a month ago, and although it wasn’t entirely favourable it’s currently the best way to check-in to both services on equal footing. Unlike the other two methods, you shouldn’t have any failed checkins as you’ll be able to match up venues prior to checking in. The disadvantages are that you only get a bit of the Foursquare experience and a bit of the Gowalla experience – little or no tips on venues, no posting of photos with checkins, no indication of how far away you are from the mayorship and so on. You also get overloaded with venue information from three services (Facebook Places is also included) which means there’s plenty of duplicates.

So which is best? Until recently I mostly stuck with Footfeed, but its shortcomings have driven me away, especially with the recent improvements to the official Foursquare app. So I went for the second option – using Foursquare as normal but with cr.osspo.st sending as much as it can to Gowalla. This suits me as I’m primarily a Foursquare user – if you prefer Gowalla, then you’re probably best sticking with it.

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