Facebook acquisition complete: Gowalla shuts down

Three months after Facebook acquired the location-based social networking company, Gowalla has shut down. Foursquare can finally celebrate as it's the clear winner in this space, for now.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

Three months ago, Facebook acquired the location-based social network Gowalla. Today, as expected, the company Gowalla has officially shut down its website:

Thank you for going out with Gowalla. It was a pleasure to journey with you around the world. Download your check-ins, photos and lists here soon.

Something tells me there won't be many Gowalla users downloading their content. Most of them likely backed them up, and the rest simply moved on.

The announcement is a timely one. Facebook this week gave developers the ability to let users add friends, location, and share photos directly from apps as well as shared details about its Location API, which some ex-Gowalla likely helped with.

Austin-based Gowalla launched in 2007, but lost the battle to its direct competitor: Foursquare. The company tried to reinvent itself as a travel guide, but failed. Facebook was not interested in, and did not acquire, Gowalla's user data: it was a talent-only acquisition.

Most of Gowalla's employees, including co-founder Josh Williams, moved to Facebook's offices in Palo Alto (so they're likely in Menlo Park now), while the rest stayed in Austin to work out of Facebook's local office there. The team is helping with Facebook's new Timeline profile.

Rumor has it Menlo Park made the purchase in exchange for $3 million in Facebook shares. 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.

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