Last week, Facebook acquired the location sharing service Gowalla for an undisclosed sum. Now we're learning Palo Alto supposedly made the purchase in exchange for $3 million in Facebook shares, according to two sources cited by TechCrunch.
The deal was reportedly done with full board backing and the majority of Gowalla investors were apparently okay it being made entirely in Facebook shares. This is probably because Facebook shares are very likely to be more profitable moving forward given the social networking giant's upcoming IPO. The Gowalla team, some of which will not be moving on to Facebook, did not get a significantly better deal than investors, or so the rumor goes.
Austin-based Gowalla launched in 2007, but lost the battle to its direct competitor: Foursquare. The company recently tried to reinvent itself as a travel guide. Facebook was not interested in, and did not acquire, Gowalla's user data: this was a talent-only acquisition.
Most of Gowalla's employees, including co-founder Josh Williams, are moving to Facebook's offices in Palo Alto, while the rest will stay in Austin and work out of Facebook's local office there. The team will work on Facebook's Timeline feature, which was unveiled three months ago at the company's 2011 f8 developer conference, and incidentally started rolling out last week.
Four months ago, Facebook decided to kill Facebook Places. At the same time though, Palo Alto added a lot more location features to its social network. Although it phased out the mobile-only Facebook Places, it started letting users add their current location to anything (status update, photo, or Wall post), from anywhere (regardless of what device you are using). Gowalla employees will be helping with this vision.
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