As location-based social networks gain serious traction, its inevitable that that these applications will become full-fledged platforms. Like Twitter, these networks can become ecosystems. Plus, they have a better chance of continuing to survive when Facebook enters the location ring. Foursquare released its API in November. And now Gowalla will has released its API today.
In a blog post announcing the API, Gowalla encourages developers to build out features that incolve location and the community, highlighting the recent addition of user-curated trips. Gowalla also suggested several uses of the API including an Indiana Jones Map (convert your road trip into an animated, epic adventure); Conference Games (encourage conference attendees to explore the city and get to know each other by tracking their check-ins and rewarding those who get off the beaten path); and LunchVote (Use LunchVote to decide on a nearby restaurant and track your history).
We originally reported on the impending release here, with Gowalla working on adjusting privacy setting for users as as third-party services start getting access to their data. Gowalla’s Josh Williams said that privacy controls are becoming more granular so that users can pick certain things to share while holding back others.
Foursquare, one of Gowalla’s main competitors, has already been partnering with developers to produce third-party apps. Photocheck.in, PlaceWidget and others are building innovative location centric applications off of the platform. It should be interesting to see what developers will do with Gowalla, especially considering its emphasis on virtual goods.