A spokesman for Facebook confirms that the founders of Austin-based Gowalla are joining the social networking giant. But, while Josh Williams, Scott Raymond and members of their development team will close the service next month to join Facebook, both sides are quick to point out that the move is not a takeover move by Facebook.
“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. In talking with the Gowalla team, we realized that we share many of the same goals: building great products that reach millions of people, making a big impact quickly, and creating new ways for people to connect and share what’s going on in their lives. While Facebook isn’t acquiring the Gowalla service or technology, we’re sure that the inspiration behind Gowalla will make its way into Facebook over time."
In a statement on the Gowalla website, Josh Williams wrote that he and Raymond were "blown away" by new Facebook developments they saw at a developers conference earlier this year. Williams added that those developments were enticing enough to start thinking about joining the company headed by Mark Zuckerberg.
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!
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.
Williams and Raymond founded Gowalla three years ago as an online social network that allowed subscribers to do location-based "check ins," recording a subscriber is with a the moment and allowing photo uploads. The site has been in head-to-head competition with Foursquare, which offers subscribers some of the same features.