Location based social network Gowalla recently (Nov. 2010) made it possible for users to share their check-in status with their Foursquare friends, in addition to Facebook and Twitter followers. By integrating with Foursquare, Gowalla has placed itself in a unique position. For people who enjoy sharing information (like myself) this makes me very happy. Most importantly this move is going to greatly  (if it hasn’t already) increase the number of active Gowalla users and potentially stunt growth within Foursquares user base.

For the person who likes to share information and update people regularly this is a big deal. I used to use Foursquare every day, I had a Gowalla app, but never cared to try it out. As of today, I’ll be using Gowalla from here on out! It’s all about simplicity for the end-user. Now, not everyone is as excited about this move or even cares that it happened. Some people will naturally stay with Foursquare, but why? Now, you’re check in will appear in two places at once!

What does this mean for small businesses? It’s time to learn! If you’re a business owner regardless of your location or size you need to strongly consider engaging consumers using location-based marketing techniques. Consumers who are using Foursquare already have an established list of friends who can view their whereabouts. Now, Gowalla has invited consumers to their platform while allowing all Gowalla users to keep in touch with and update their Foursquare friends. With the  number of smartphone users on the rise small business owners are faced with a difficult decision. Accept the fact that consumers are spending more time online than watching TV or reading the newspaper. It’s time to join or get left behind. Get educated and help yourself and your business grow. Think about how your business might succeed with mobile marketing and location based services. After all with the rise in smartphone users consumers are searching the internet more and more, but will they find you or your competition?

What do you think about Gowalla’s Foursquare integration? Do you like the idea? Would (do) you use Gowalla’s Foursquare integration, why?