Media & Entertainment

Gowalla Confirms It Will Shut Down As Founders and Team Members Join Facebook

Comment

Following reports that the company as a whole had been acquired, Gowalla today announced that its founders and several team members have joined Facebook and will move to its Palo Alto headquarters. The Gowalla service “will be winding down at the end of January”, and options will be made available for users to export their data. Gowalla CEO Josh Williams says his company was impressed by what Facebook revealed at f8, and soon after he and other team members were asked to join the social network’s team.

https://twitter.com/#!/jw/status/143738620732383232

Williams tweeted this morning about how he’ll have to adjust to having superiors again after running his own company for so long. Facebook tells us that “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. 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 his departure blog post, Williams writes that “Facebook is not acquiring Gowalla’s user data.” Instead, users will be able to acquire it if they want as Gowalla “plans 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.” Some loyal Gowalla users might not be so pleased with the news, and could blame Facebook for killing their favorite way to check in. The data export options should reduce this discontent, though.

The deal offers Gowalla’s founders a graceful exit despite being unable to keep up with Foursquare’s growing user count. Rather than fade away, the move to Facebook will surely bring them plenty of high-fives. By providing a way for them to save face, Facebook may have been able to attain some great talent at a relatively cheap price. The best designers, engineers, and product people usually aren’t out applying for jobs, they’re working for interesting startups. Rapid-fire talent acquisitions seem to have become Facebook’s preferred hiring method as well as a way to make sure disruptive ideas are coming from within its walls. We’re still trying to sniff out the price Facebook paid, but Gowalla’s founders might not have come away with much from the deal. Meanwhile, investors who put up $10.4 million probably didn’t receive the multiple they were hoping for if they even made all their money back.

CNN Money first reported a leak that Facebook would be buying at least some part of Gowalla on Friday, and AllThingsD attained details about an email sent to investors explaining that the deal’s ink wasn’t dry yet. Now with the deal finalized, we can start thinking about exactly how the acqhire will aid Facebook.

The Gowalla talent could help create compelling content for the profile Timeline based on the Places checkins of users. This was Gowalla’s core strength — badges, items, tips, notes, and other visual secondary content based off of checkins. When Timeline finally launches publicly, users could have the option to show which are their most checked in Places, how far they’ve travelled from home, or who they most frequently check in with. Facebook has never offered badges before, but might start now thanks to Gowalla’s designers and the Timeline providing a more stable place to display evidence of a user’s past checkin activity.

Another task the Gowalla talent could undertake would be turning Facebook’s location service Places into more of a Foursquare-killer. Currently, Places doesn’t help users discover locations based on their characteristics such as if they’re a restaurant, nightlife establishment, or public place. It also doesn’t let users find tips about what to do once they’re at a location.

Foursquare has refocused on providing this value, so Facebook will need to decide either to go hard in this direction, or keep Places more of a minimal location backbone. Considering Facebook won’t be integrating Gowalla’s location data, the latter seems more likely for now. So hey, congrats Foursquare, you now own the location tips space.

More TechCrunch

The company is hoping to produce electricity at $13 per megawatt hour, which would be more than 50% cheaper than traditional onshore wind.

Bill Gates-backed wind startup AirLoom is raising $12M, filings reveal

Generative AI makes stuff up. It can be biased. Sometimes, it spits out toxic text. So can it be “safe”? Rick Caccia, the CEO of WitnessAI, believes it can. “Securing…

WitnessAI is building guardrails for generative AI models

It’s not often that you hear about a seed round above $10 million. H, a startup based in Paris and previously known as Holistic AI, has announced a $220 million…

French AI startup H raises $220 million seed round

Hey there, Series A to B startups with $35 million or less in funding — we’ve got an exciting opportunity that’s tailor-made for your growth journey! If you’re looking to…

Boost your startup’s growth with a ScaleUp package at TC Disrupt 2024

TikTok is pulling out all the stops to prevent its impending ban in the United States. Aside from initiating legal challenges against the government, that means shaping up its public…

As a U.S. ban looms, TikTok announces a $1M program for socially driven creators

Microsoft wants to put its Copilot everywhere. It’s only a matter of time before Microsoft renames its annual Build developer conference to Microsoft Copilot. Hopefully, some of those upcoming events…

Microsoft’s Power Automate no-code platform adds AI flows

Build is Microsoft’s largest developer conference and of course, it’s all about AI this year. So it’s no surprise that GitHub’s Copilot, GitHub’s “AI pair programming tool,” is taking center…

GitHub Copilot gets extensions

Microsoft wants to make its brand of generative AI more useful for teams — specifically teams across corporations and large enterprise organizations. This morning at its annual Build dev conference,…

Microsoft intros a Copilot for teams

Microsoft’s big focus at this year’s Build conference is generative AI. And to that end, the tech giant announced a series of updates to its platforms for building generative AI-powered…

Microsoft upgrades its AI app-building platforms

The UK’s data protection watchdog has closed an almost year-long investigation of Snap’s AI chatbot, My AI — saying it’s satisfied the social media firm has addressed concerns about risks…

UK data protection watchdog ends privacy probe of Snap’s GenAI chatbot, but warns industry

U.S. cell carrier Patriot Mobile experienced a data breach that included subscribers’ personal information, including full names, email addresses, home zip codes, and account PINs, TechCrunch has learned. Patriot Mobile,…

Conservative cell carrier Patriot Mobile hit by data breach

It’s been three years since Spotify acquired live audio startup Betty Labs, and yet the music streaming service isn’t leveraging the technology to its fullest potential—at least not in our…

Spotify’s ‘Listening Party’ feature falls short of expectations

Alchemist Accelerator has a new pile of AI-forward companies demoing their wares today, if you care to watch, and the program itself is making some international moves into Tokyo and…

Alchemist’s latest batch puts AI to work as accelerator expands to Tokyo, Doha

“Late Pledge” allows campaign creators to continue collecting money even after the campaign has closed.

Kickstarter now lets you pledge after a campaign closes

Stack AI’s co-founders, Antoni Rosinol and Bernardo Aceituno, were PhD students at MIT wrapping up their degrees in 2022 just as large language models were becoming more mainstream. ChatGPT would…

Stack AI wants to make it easier to build AI-fueled workflows

Pinecone, the vector database startup founded by Edo Liberty, the former head of Amazon’s AI Labs, has long been at the forefront of helping businesses augment large language models (LLMs)…

Pinecone launches its serverless vector database out of preview

Young geothermal energy wells can be like budding prodigies, each brimming with potential to outshine their peers. But like people, most decline with age. In California, for example, the amount…

Special mud helps XGS Energy get more power out of geothermal wells

Featured Article

Sonos finally made some headphones

The market play is clear from the outset: The $449 headphones are firmly targeted at an audience that would otherwise be purchasing the Bose QC Ultra or Apple AirPods Max.

4 hours ago
Sonos finally made some headphones

Adobe says the feature is up to the task, regardless of how complex of a background the object is set against.

Adobe brings Firefly AI-powered Generative Remove to Lightroom

All cars suffer when the mercury drops, but electric vehicles suffer more than most as heaters draw more power and batteries charge more slowly as the liquid electrolyte inside thickens.…

Porsche Ventures invests in battery startup South 8 to boost cold-weather EV performance

Scale AI has raised a $1 billion Series F round from a slew of big-name institutional and corporate investors including Amazon and Meta.

Data-labeling startup Scale AI raises $1B as valuation doubles to $13.8B

The new coalition, Tech Against Scams, will work together to find ways to fight back against the tools used by scammers and to better educate the public against financial scams.

Meta, Match, Coinbase and others team up to fight online fraud and crypto scams

It’s a wrap: European Union lawmakers have given the final approval to set up the bloc’s flagship, risk-based regulations for artificial intelligence.

EU Council gives final nod to set up risk-based regulations for AI

London-based fintech Vitesse has closed a $93 million Series C round of funding led by investment giant KKR.

Vitesse, a payments and treasury management platform for insurers, raises $93M to fuel US expansion

Zen Educate, an online marketplace that connects schools with teachers, has raised $37 million in a Series B round of funding. The raise comes amid a growing teacher shortage crisis…

Zen Educate raises $37M and acquires Aquinas Education as it tries to address the teacher shortage

“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine.”

Scarlett Johansson says that OpenAI approached her to use her voice

A new self-driving truck — manufactured by Volvo and loaded with autonomous vehicle tech developed by Aurora Innovation — could be on public highways as early as this summer.  The…

Aurora and Volvo unveil self-driving truck designed for a driverless future

The European venture capital firm raised its fourth fund as fund as climate tech “comes of age.”

ETF Partners raises €285M for climate startups that will be effective quickly — not 20 years down the road

Copilot, Microsoft’s brand of generative AI, will soon be far more deeply integrated into the Windows 11 experience.

Microsoft wants to make Windows an AI operating system, launches Copilot+ PCs

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. For those who haven’t heard, the first crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner capsule has been pushed back yet again to no earlier than…

TechCrunch Space: Star(side)liner