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Take your pics: Facebook shuts down Gowalla

Location service checks out

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SXSW Facebook have shuttered the check-in location service Gowalla three months after acquiring it. The Gowalla site is displaying a notice thanking users for "going out" with the service – and offering users the option to download their photos and check-ins.

The announcement at tech and media fest South By Southwest (SXSW) comes exactly three years after Gowalla launched at SXSW 2009.

Social location has been the hot new thing for several years and Gowalla was one of its pioneers, but we've failed to see a compelling use of the tech. Gowalla had 600,000 members at the time it was shut down.

After making an aggressive move into social location in August 2010 with Facebook Places, Facebook has decided to scale back on its location services recently, removing the check-in option as a stand-alone function on its mobile apps. Adding location is now incorporated into normal status updates.

Facebook's buyout of Gowalla in November came after this pull-back and it has brought the Gowalla staff in-house to work on new location features. Gowalla's closure has been on the cards since the buyout, but was initially forecast for January.

More successful Gowalla-rival Foursquare has kept up a following, and claims to have 15 million users worldwide as of January 2012.®

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