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Facebook Buys Gowalla: Social Network Acquires Location-Based Service's Employees

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FACEBOOK GOWALLA
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Facebook has acquired location-based social service Gowalla for an undisclosed sum.

Both companies announced the deal on December 5.

"We're excited to confirm that Gowalla co-founders Josh Williams and Scott Raymond, along with other members of the Gowalla team, are moving to Facebook in January to join our design and engineering teams," a Facebook rep said in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post.

According to a post on the Gowalla Blog, at least part of the startup's staff will relocate from Austin, Texas, to Palo Alto, California. Gowalla services will be shuttered in January 2012.

Facebook won't acquire any of Gowalla's technology or user data, and the Gowalla Blog explains that the service will give its two million users a chance to extract their data before the service shuts its doors for good.

CNN Money published an unconfirmed report on December 2 that Facebook would buy Gowalla. According to CNN's sources, Gowalla talent will join Facebook's Timeline development team, which is currently finalizing Facebook's new profile design that debuted at the company's recent f8 conference and is expected to begin rolling out to users soon.

Since launching in 2009, Gowalla had faced steep competition from check-in service Foursquare and daily deals giant Groupon, as well as a host of other location-based check-in and rewards services. In September, Gowalla announced that it had redesigned its mobile app and planned to shift focus away from check-ins and toward user-generated reviews of local places. Those plans are now kaput.

Facebook also found itself struggling to keep up in the local mobile space. The social network's location-based deals feature, Places, which launched in August 2010, failed to take off. Almost exactly a year later, Facebook said it would shutter certain aspects of the project.

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