Gowalla Confirms Facebook Deal, Will Close in January

Posted by at 11:06 am on December 6, 2011

Gowalla co-founder Josh Williams confirmed Monday the talk that his company had been bought by Facebook. The location check-in service is now due to ramp down by the end of January as most of the team moves to Palo Alto. Users should get an option to export their current and legacy data, including photos, and won’t see the data handed over.

Both Facebook and Gowalla provided only hints of where the company was going. They planned for “some of the inspiration” behind the service, which focused on guides and journeys in its later months, to carry over into Facebook.

The deal marks a quiet end to a key battle in location services from the past two years between Gowalla and the by now clear market leader, Foursquare. Both were once fiercely competitive and had a legendary check-in conflict during the South by Southwest 2010 festival’s technology conference. Momentum eventually shifted in Foursquare’s favor, however, and its sheer number of content deals and feature upgrades kept it ahead.

Facebook itself has had trouble competing with Foursquare through its Places check-ins, and it may be using Gowalla’s team to boost its support of the feature. Rumors had put the focus on integrating Gowalla’s work with the new Timeline profile page.

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