Facebook Acquires Gowalla’s Team; Gowalla Itself Not So Much 

Gowalla co-founder Josh Williams:

About two months ago, my co-founder Scott [Raymond] 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. 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. 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.

A few disconnected reactions:

This was inevitable. The fact is that Gowalla was a distant second to Foursquare in the social check-in app space. Gowalla was never a serious competitor in hyper-local advertising and daily deals, which are practically the only way besides an acquisition that a company like that can make money for their investors.

Plus, though I liked Gowalla's product better as a piece of software, I can't deny Foursquare's "game" was more accessible and fun. I have friends who never really "got" Gowalla yet check in on Foursquare constantly. Gowalla tried adding its versions of badges and titles, but not until after half the internet was working to take over the mayorship of their favorite coffee place.

Also, I'm really starting to respect Facebook for the simple fact that when they buy companies just to acquire their teams — something they've done a lot recently, of which Gowalla is just the biggest example — they don't even pretend to be interested in keeping the products going. There's no uncertainty. Facebook knows what they want, they say so, and everyone knows where they stand.