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Facebook 'acq-hires' Gowalla brains, shuts service down

'We know you loved Gowalla, but they offered cash money'

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Facebook has confirmed that it is bringing the team behind Gowalla into the social network’s fold.

Gowalla co-founders Josh Williams and Scott Raymond and some of the members of the Gowalla team will move from Austin, Texas HQ to Facebook’s Valley digs to join its design and engineering teams.

Williams said that Facebook would acquire Gowalla’s user data. Financial details have not been disclosed.

In the style to which Facebook acquirees have become accustomed, Gowalla will be brought into Facebook but the service is to shut. ”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,” Facebook said in a statement.

Gowalla joins a raft of start-ups, mostly with venture capital pedigrees in the $US5-$US10 million range, that Facebook has gobbled up “acq-hire style” this year for brains trust or IP or a medley of both.

In November it was Strobe Corp, a San Francisco-based HTML5 mobile app development startup, while in October it was Friend.ly, which after acquisition Facebook conscripted its 10-person team to work on new products.

More 2011 Facebook shopping list items included: mobile advertising outfit, Rel8tion; group messengers Beluga; mobile app developer , Snaptu; software designers Sofa and email distiller, Mail Rank.

Williams said on the Gowalla blog that he and his co-founder were “blown away by Facebook’s new developments.” The Gowalla service, will wind down at the end of January and the company will provide a way to export user data and photos.

“We know how much many of you loved Gowalla. As we move forward, we hope some of the inspiration behind Gowalla — a fun and beautiful way to share your journey on the go — will live on at Facebook,” Williams said. ®

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