Earlier this month, location-based service Gowalla went on the offensive against rival Foursquare — by linking up with them. Yes, they created a way for you to use Gowalla to check-in on Foursquare (and Facebook). Why would they do that? Because they said that users told them they felt the Gowalla experience was better, but many of their friends were already using Foursquare. So what did that Gowalla experience include that Foursquare didn’t? Well, comments and pictures, for starters. Well, you can strike both of those off the list today.
Yes, Foursquare is finally adding both highly requested features to the service. At first, they’ll be available on the iPhone app and the website, but the plan is to quickly get them to Android (next week, we’re told) and BlackBerry (next month). And the service has three other high-profile startups on board at launch to help with the picture element: Instagram, PicPlz, and Foodspotting.
So how will it all work? Well, now when you check-in to a venue on Foursquare, you can also take a picture and attach it to that venue. You can also attach pictures to the Tips area of a venue. These pictures will be public. Or you can actually actually check-in with a photo, and that photo will only be visibile to your friends on the service (or other services if you choose to tweet them out or post them to Facebook).
Comments are a bit different. Those can be left on a check-in in your stream and are only visible to your friends and to their friends (so it doesn’t look like they’re talking to no one). Foursquare envisions that this feature will allow the service to become even more social both online and offline as there will obviously be some fun discussions on odd check-ins, and you’ll also now be able to see friends who are nearby and comment on their check-ins to set up a meetup.
And now that Foursquare supports photos, you can use Instagram, PicPlz, and Foodspotting to send them directly while at the same time checking-in. PicPlz should work right away for Android and iPhone, while Instagram and Foodspotting will be iPhone-only for now (as both are currently only available on the iPhone). The Foodspotting integration could be particularly interesting since the point of that service is to show the best food at various venues.
Foursquare plans to flesh-out these features a bit more alongside their developer community early next year. One other feature due soon is the ability to export your Foursquare pictures to both Facebook and Flickr, we’re told. They’re also planning a better way to keep track of comments coming in on your check-ins, and thinking about a way to upload and store older photos that you’d like tagged to specific place.
Look for the latest Foursquare iPhone app (and the other apps mentioned) with these new features in the App Store shortly.