Gowalla is at Facebook

Surprisingly not through a check-in at Facebook’s Palo Alto office, founders of location-based service Gowalla announced that they are winding down the location-sharing service and joining Facebook.

“We’re excited to announce that we’ll be making the journey to California to join Facebook!” Josh Williams, a co-founder of the Texas-based company said in a blog post.

Facebook confirmed that Gowalla co-founders Williams and Scott Raymond and other members of Gowalla would join Facebook’s design and engineering teams in January.

As is the norm with these social media acquisition deals, financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

“In talking with the Gowalla team, we realised that we share many of the same goals: building great products that reach millions of people, making a big impact quickly, and creating new ways for people to connect and share what’s going on in their lives,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

“While Facebook isn’t acquiring the Gowalla service or technology, we’re sure that the inspiration behind Gowalla will make its way into Facebook over time,” a company representative said.

Williams said Gowalla, which launched two years ago, will wind down at the end of January and the company will let users know how they can export their data and photos. He also noted that Facebook was not acquiring Gowalla’s user data.

“As we move forward, we hope some of the inspiration behind Gowalla — a fun and beautiful way to share your journey on the go — will live on at Facebook,” he said.

Like Foursquare, Gowalla’s chief rival in the location-based services game, Gowalla lets users with GPS-equipped smartphones share their whereabouts.

Foursquare congratulated the team in a statement saying, “Congrats to Josh and the team in Austin. Here at Foursquare, we continue to focus on building an amazing product and growing our 15,000,000-strong community”.

Facebook last year launched Facebook Places, its first venture into offering location-based services.

With Facebook stating that it is not buying Gowalla’s service or technology — as is often the case in these deals — but merely taking its management team on board, the reasoning behind this move has been difficult to ascertain. — AFP with additional reporting by Staff Reporter



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