When was the last time you played Foursquare? Not the mobile app that lets you check in at a coffeeshop or store in hopes of becoming its “mayor”. But the original game involving a red rubber ball and a grid chalked onto asphalt.
Location service Gowalla launched within days of rival Foursquare in March 2009, only to see its competitor grow to more than 4 million users while Gowalla seemed left in the dust. This summer’s introduction of Facebook’s location service, dubbed Places, didn’t help the perception that Gowalla was on a challenging road.
Google is revamping its efforts to court local merchants, as the Internet search giant faces a growing band of rivals aiming for a piece of the lucrative small business market.