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December 4, 2011

UPDATED: Facebook buys Gowalla

Many of Gowalla's employees will relocate to Facebook's offices in Palo Alto

By CBR Staff Writer

Social networking site Facebook has acquired Gowalla, a location service company, for an undisclosed sum, according to CNN.

Facebook declined to comment on the deal.

Many of Gowalla’s employees will relocate to Facebook’s offices in Palo Alto while some will stay back in Austin. The team will reportedly work on Facebook’s Timeline feature, which was launched at this year’s F8 conference.

Launched in 2009, Gowalla tried to compete with Foursquare unsuccessfully. It managed to raise $10.4m in funding. Its investors are Kevin Rose and Jason Calacanis, besides VC firms such as Greylock Partners, Shasta Ventures and Founders Fund.

An anonymous source was quoted by CNN as saying it was a perfect match. The source added that Gowalla’s vision was about people telling stories, and Facebook’s vision for Timeline is about stories about important moments in life.

UPDATE: Gowalla has confirmed the acquisition.

Writing on the company’s blog, co-founder Josh Williams said: About two months ago, my co-founder Scott and I attended F8. We were blown away by Facebook’s new developments. A few weeks later Facebook called, and it became clear that the way for our team to have the biggest impact was to work together."

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"So we’re excited to announce that we’ll be making the journey to California to join Facebook!"

Gowalla as a service will be winding down at the end of January, Williams added, and Facebook is not acquiring Gowalla’s user data.

"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 wrote.

You can read CBR‘s take on the dangers of location-based services here.

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