Gowalla confirms Facebook buyout

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Facebook has bought Austin, Texas company Gowalla, which provides location sharing capabilities for mobile users.

Gowalla has now confirmed the deal via a blog post, indicating the service will now begin to dismantle.

"Gowalla, as a service, will be winding down at the end of January. 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. Facebook is not acquiring Gowalla's user data," said company co-founder Josh Williams.

"We know how much many of you loved Gowalla. It's been the highlight of our lives as we've built it with your help over the past two years. 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."

As far as the big picture, Gowalla's vision is about people telling stories.

According to a CNN Money source, the Gowalla team will work on the recently added Timeline feature, which is controlled by users to decide which posts they consider more important over their time on Facebook. It is designed to be "wider" and "a lot more visual" than standard profiles, Facebook said back in September.

Gowalla was initially a Foursquare rival but refocused on becoming more of a travel-guide app. A tag-line on its site reads: "Discover our world's most loved places while sharing the places that mean the world to you."

"It's a perfect match," said the source. "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."

Tech giants have been guilty of killing off their acquisition's products before and Facebook has stressed a key part of its acquisition strategy is gaining the right expertise.

Facebook confirmed it has not bought the Gowalla application or the technology behind it.

"We're excited to confirm that Gowalla co-founders Josh Williams and Scott Raymond, along with other members of the Gowalla team, are moving to Facebook in January to join our design and engineering teams," 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."

During a press conference last week, Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg revealed the social networking giant was planning to hire thousands over the next year as it expects to see further rapid growth.

"We are trying to grow at a clip that will allow us to get the very best people and integrate them," Reuters quoted Sandberg as saying.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.