My first question when I saw this news was, What is Gowalla? Maybe I’m in the minority of people, but to my knowledge, I had never heard of Gowalla before a couple days so. So, what is Gowalla? It is a location based social network where users can “check in” at spots that they are near either through an app or a website on their cell phones. Similar to Foursquare, but not nearly as popular. Foursquare currently has 10 million users, and Gowalla only has (had) 2 million. Hence, Facebooks acquisition of them.
According to both Facebook and Gowalla, they are not buying the Gowalla service or their location-based technology, instead they are just simply adding the Gowalla management team to their own team, which includes CEO Josh Williams and Co-founder Scott Raymond. They are picking up and moving their stuff from Austin, TX to Palo Alto, CA, where Facebook’s headquarters currently are.
I’m very curious to see how Facebook is going to use the Gowalla management team. Currently, Facebook users can check in to various locations using Facebook Places on the Facebook app. I’m guessing this acquisition means that they are wanting to change how they go about having users check in to places. It will be interesting to see how they proceed, and what changes they will make.
In a blog post written yesterday by CEO Josh Williams, he says how he and Co-Founder Scott Raymond attended the F8 summit a couple months ago, and were “blown away” by what they saw from Facebook, and that a couple weeks after that, Facebook called them and it became clear what they needed to do. He continues on to say, “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.”
As we are all well aware, Facebook is continually making updates, some bigger than others, and I can only image what changes this will bring to the Social Media world.