On last SXSW, Google ActivityStreams representatives and Gowalla held a meeting in order to integrate Gowalla geolocation API data into Google Buzz. This is very good for adoption of open standards overall and ActivityStreams as being biggest candidate for wide adoption.
For those that are not familiar with ActivityStreams, it is open standard that can map all of our online activities into feed stream. Still, Facebook stream is currently the most used stream format, but it is under ongoing changes and it still has to adopt geolocation data. That's way there is a need for standardized API, which will be accepted by most.
It is nice move by Google that helps small guys that are picking up fast. But, every coin has other side. If you see who is a biggest competitor of Gowalla. It is Foursquare, 4 member NY based company founded by ex Googlers ( w/ Dennis Crowley as team rockstar ). Google has acquired Crowley's sms-location-based company Dodgeball at 2005. But, Google has neglected Dodgeball and did not redirect too much resources into acquired company. As out come, Dodgeball founders leave company and Dodgeball been shutdown by Google.
Wouldn't be obvious that Google first reaches Foursquare in order to help its growth ? No! It is obvious that Google has unfinished business with Dodgeball founders and it is helping directly Foursquare's biggest competitors. I guess that Google never forgets !