Gowalla co-founder checks out of Facebook

Josh Williams won't be checking into any more of the social network's local search initiatives.

Jennifer Van Grove Former Senior Writer / News
Jennifer Van Grove covered the social beat for CNET. She loves Boo the dog, CrossFit, and eating vegan. Her jokes are often in poor taste, but her articles are not.
Jennifer Van Grove
Josh Williams pictured in March 2011 when he was still CEO of Gowalla. Caroline McCarthy/CNET

Josh Williams, Facebook's product manager of location and events, is checking out of the company after just 18 months on the job, Facebook confirmed to CNET. The news was first reported by AllThingsD.

"Joshua has been a valuable member of Facebook," a spokesperson said. "We wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors."

Williams has served as the social network's lead on local initiatives, a top priority in recent months, ever since Facebook subsumed his struggling startup Gowalla, which, like still-alive-and-kicking Foursquare, specialized in venue check-ins. Williams has been helping Facebook act more like Yelp by tweaking mobile business Pages and developing a mobile map-based Nearby Places feature for exploring surrounding venues.

Williams, whose last day with Facebook is Friday, told Business Insider that he plans to "work on something new" but did not specify what that would be.

The loss seems like a blow, particularly considering that Facebook shelled out a reported $3 million in shares just for Gowalla's talent -- not its technology. Williams exit also closely trails that of advertising executive Gokul Rajaram, engineering director Josh Wiseman, and general counsel Ted Ullyot.

Williams did not immediately respond to a request for comment.