Facebook Buys Gowalla?

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CNN Money is reporting that, according to sources, Facebook has purchased location sharing service Gowalla.  The deal is officially unconfirmed, but seems likely given the sources.

Further information says that Gowalla will uproot from its Texas offices and move into Facebook’s space in Palo Alto, California.  Gowalla will become integrated with Facebook’s “Timeline” feature, which is gradually rolling out to FB users now.

Gowalla recently re-built iself as a “travel guide” after failing to attract enough users to really compete with Foursquare, current Mayor of Location-Based Apps.  It’s unknown whether Facebook will keep this new direction or push Gowalla back into Timeline – which seems more likely.

In fact, given Facebook’s history with buyouts, it’s questionable whether Gowalla will remain at all.  With Drop.io, Hot Potato, and others, FB killed them off and moved their talent pool into other projects.  It seems likely that they’ll do the same here, putting Gowalla’s talent into Timeline instead.

There will probably be an official announcement on the take over today and more information may be forthcoming from that.

Update 12/5/11, PM: As expected, the announcement was made today and Gowalla and Facebook both say that the Gowalla service itself will cease in January and the entire Gowalla development team will be put on the Facebook Timeline squad.


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