New York, US: Facebook acquired location-based service (LBS) provider, Gowalla, for an undisclosed sum, CNN reported. Most of Gowalla’s employees, including founder Josh Williams, will move to Facebook’s offices in Palo Alto. The team will work on Facebook’s Timeline feature, which launched at this year’s F8 conference and is gradually rolling out to Facebook’s 800 million members.
Launched in 2009, Gowalla went head-to-head with direct rival Foursquare — and lost. Badly trailing Foursquare in user adoption, Gowalla recently shifted directions, recasting itself as a travel guide. The site had raised around USD 10 million over the years from backers including the Founders Fund, Greylock Partners and a collection of angel investors.
According to the report, As far as the big picture, Gowalla’s vision is about people telling stories and Facebook’s vision for Timeline is about stories about important moments in life. So, it is a perfect match. The report stressed that Facebook has a habit of buying promising startups and killing them off to deploy their engineers and developers on other projects. Its hit list includes Beluga, Hot Potato, Drop.io, Snaptu, Digital Staircase, among more than a dozen others. Whether or not Gowalla’s app will remain alive has not yet been determined.
In August, in conversation with Bloomberg, Vaughan Smith, Facebook’s director of corporate development, said, “Facebook views takeovers as a good way to build up its talent bench. The company aims to make about 20 purchases in 2011, up from 10 last year.”