Facebook on Monday confirmed its purchase of Gowalla, which had been reported on Friday, but says it isn’t buying the brand’s service or location-based technology but will instead absorb the management team behind the company.
The following statement was issued by Facebook:
“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.”
Gowalla’s team, including CEO Josh Williams and co-founder Scott Raymond will move from the company’s Austin, Texas, headquarters to Facebook home base in Palo Alto, Calif.
It’s not clear how Facebook will integrate Gowalla’s technology. The latter company created a location-based social network that lets users check in to various locations. The service was similar to that of Foursquare, but Foursquare has a much larger user base — 10 million vs. Gowalla’s 2 million. Facebook currently lets users check in to locations via Facebook Places.
In a blog entry, Gowalla CEO Josh Williams detailed his decision to take Facebook’s offer. Williams wrote.
“About two months ago, my co-founder Scott [Raymonds] 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.”
Facebook’s statement was along the same lines:
“In talking with the Gowalla team, we realized 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.”
Williams wrote that Gowalla will be winding down at the end of January and Williams added.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Gowalla’s chief rival, Foursquare, released a statement on Friday about the move:
“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.”
Here's All Things Digital's Kara Swisher interviewing Josh Williams:
COMMENTARY: I had read over the weekend that there were rumors of a Facebook acquisition of location-based social network Gowalla. Now it's official. In a blog post dated August 29, 2011, I revealed that Facebook was shutdown Facebook Deals, only four days after it announced it was shutting down Facebook Places, its location-based check-in service, and Facebook said they were not completely abandoning location-based social networking. Looks like they had their eyes on Gowalla all the time.
Foursquare is still in the drivers seat with 15 million users, but in a blog post January 29, 2011, I questioned its business model, and ability to generate revenues and its valuation. In June 27, 2011, I announced that venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz had invested $50 million in venture capital in foursquare, giving the LBSN a valuation of $600 million.
This now makes you wonder what exactly is Facebook's plan for Gowalla, and where does this leave Loopt, the third place LBSN.
Courtesy of an article dated December 5, 2011 appearing in Mashable