Gowalla Shifts Focus To Location Guides

In a big shift for Austin-based Gowalla, the firm is launching a new version of its mobile apps today at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, with a new focus on in-depth information about different locations. The new focus on "Guides" is a shift away from check-ins, and to curated travel guides for locations around the world. The firm--which hinted at the changes August 25th in a post "Going Forward" on its blog--is shifting away from a losing head-to-head competition with competing checkin service Foursquare. Instead, the firm is focusing on helping people go out to explore the world. Gowalla said in August that it was drastically "pruning" many features of the site, after finding that "fewer than half a percent of our active community makes use of them." The firm said the company had to make some "difficult decisions" in the shift and removal of features.