December 5, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Gowalla is going dark next month thanks to the company being acquired by Facebook. A report from CNN over the weekend suggested that Facebook had purchased the Austin-based company, and founder Josh Williams has posted a blog confirming that the Gowalla team will join Facebook and shut down the service at the end of January.
Fans of Gowalla may be disappointed by this news, but it has seemed inevitable in recent months. Gowalla launched at the same time as Foursquare in 2009, but it never managed to compete with its location-aware check-in rival. Foursquare’s userbase and notoriety dramatically increased at a pace that Gowalla could never match, despite some dramatic redesigns to improve the product. The company even downplayed the check-in and attempted to become a “social travel guide” for interesting cities and capturing memorable events.
Gowalla members looking to hold on to their memories will get the chance through an export tool that will be released soon. The tool will allow members to save Passport, Stamp, Pin, and Item data, as well as photos that have been updated. The Android app and website will stop functioning next month and the service will cease operation. “Facebook is not acquiring Gowalla’s user data,” according to Williams’ post in case you were worried about Facebook having your information.
Traces of Gowalla are likely to reappear in the mobile edition of the Facebook Timeline redesign that’s in the works. The companies were on similar paths of storytelling and socializing, some of the things we liked about Gowalla’s recent pivot will reappear in Facebook.