Gowalla releases major app update with Social Guides

Gowalla has released an update to its iPhone and iPod touch app in conjunction with a major revamp of the location-based social network. Completely redesigned, Gowalla 4.0 promises to deliver a new and re-imagined experience for users centered around a new Social Guides feature that provides a collection of the best sights and venues in cities, parks and regions around the world. The Guides are currently available in 60 cities with plans to rapidly expand to hundreds more featuring photos, highlights and experiences from friends, locals and experts in each area.

Gowalla has also partnered with organizations such as Disney and National Geographic to create guides to places such as walt Disney World and various National Parks across the U.S.

Gowalla has also rolled in several other changes to the service, including replacing the concept of simply “checking in”—now referred to as “stories” the service encourages users to share their experiences at a location alongside photos and comments that can be used as part of the new Social Guides. The service has also adopted a new “following” model similar to Twitter where users can subscribe to the feeds of other members without the requirement to create a two-way “friend” relationship.

More information on the new Gowalla can be found on the Gowalla Blog. Gowalla 4.0 for the iPhone and iPod touch requires iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download. The iPad version has not yet been updated to 4.0, however the existing version will continue to work with the new service; Gowalla has noted that an iPad update is a high priority.