Hot Startups Battle To The Death Deep In The Heart Of Texas

Texas Girl Cheerleader

It’s on! The battle between Foursquare and Gowalla comes to a head starting today in Austin, Texas as thousands of tech scenesters file in for South By Southwest (SXSW).

The two buzzy startups do the same thing — allow you to tell your friends where you’re eating/drinking/hanging out, while collecting “badges” and rewards in the process.

See related: What Is Foursquare And How Do I Use It?

Winning the hearts, minds, and iPhones of the tech-scenesters this SXSW could be helpful if either company wants to build a lasting product. If anything, it’s a way to get press.

In March 2007, SXSW helped propel Twitter from obscure service to something everyone in tech and media had to use. That led to more coverage, which eventually got celebrities interested, and Twitter took off last Spring.

We’re already seeing tweets asking, “Is it going to be more handy to be using foursquare or gowalla at #SXSW ? Or do I need to have both kicking at once?” And others saying ” I do have foursquare, yes. And Gowalla. Will enjoy discussing them with you this weekend…geek-style!”

So far, it appears Foursquare has an early lead. The company’s tweeted a few minutes ago, “We were just a few shy of breaking 300,000 checkins last night.  I have a feeling we’ll break it today tho.  Austin is buzzing!  :)”

Gowalla’s accounted tweeted less specifically last night, “Wow. Amazing to watch the Gowalla action on the eve of SXSW. AMAAAAAAZING!”

Of course, neither camp wins unless AT&T can keep its network running. The telco promises better service this year, but we’ll believe it when we see it.

See related: What Is Foursquare And How Do I Use It?

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