Facebook shutting down Gowalla in early 2012
Facebook confirmed reports it has acquired location-enabled mobile social network Gowalla. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Facebook will absorb the majority of the Gowalla team, including CEO Josh Williams and co-founder Scott Raymond, but will no longer maintain Gowalla as a standalone mobile application: "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," the social networking giant said in a statement.
Gowalla will wind down at the end of January, Williams said in a blog post announcing the Facebook deal. "We plan to provide an easy way to export your Passport data, your Stamp and Pin data (along with your legacy Item data) and your photos as well," Williams writes. "Facebook is not acquiring Gowalla's user data."
Originally conceived as a location-based check in service in a vein similar to segment leader foursquare, Gowalla dramatically revamped its user experience in September, minimizing check-in activities in favor of social travel guides created by the Gowalla user community in conjunction with content providers and local experts. According to Gowalla, each guide evolves daily based on users' individual social interactions, changing in response to the people with whom they most commonly interact and updating recommendations on places to go and things to do.
Facebook declined to comment on reports that Gowalla staffers will be put to work on the new Facebook Timeline chronological interface. "It's a perfect match," a source told CNN.com last week. "As far as the big picture, Gowalla's vision is about people telling stories, and Facebook's vision for Timeline is about stories about important moments in life."
Facebook now tops 800 million users worldwide, with more than 350 million users accessing the platform via mobile device each month. In September, Nielsen reported Facebook is now the most popular mobile app across all operating systems.
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