At first, neither party confirmed the purchase, but multiple sources indicated that Facebook was inking a deal to buy Gowalla, a location-sharing company based out of Austin, Texas. Today Gowalla founder Josh Williams confirmed that his company had been purchased.
CNNMoney broke the news a few days ago, but a Facebook spokesman declined to comment on the story, saying that the company doesn't comment on rumor or speculation. The speculation is now over.
Breaking Blog Post
In his blog post confirming the deal, Williams wrote:
About two months ago, my co-founder Scott and I attended F8. We were blown away by Facebook’s new developments. A few weeks later Facebook called, and it became clear that the way for our team to have the biggest impact was to work together. So we’re excited to announce that we’ll be making the journey to California to join Facebook!"
According to Williams, Gowalla as a service will be "winding down" at the end of January 2012. He also says that Facebook is not acquiring Gowalla user data as part of the transaction.
What About Gowalla Employees?
CNNMoney's original story about the deal says that Williams and most of his company's employees will move to the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto to work on the Facebook Timeline feature. Other employees will stay in Austin and work out of Facebook's office there.
The CNNMoney report also says:
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, Vaughan Smith, Facebook's director of corporate development, told Bloomberg in August."
Gowalla never quite made it as a competitor to FourSquare, so it will be interesting to see how the company fits in at Facebook.