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Gowalla team to join Facebook in January

Gowalla's talent, not the technology behind its location-based social-networking app, is heading to Facebook, the companies say.

Gowalla announced today that its team will be moving to California to work for Facebook.
Gowalla announces today that its team will be moving to California to work for Facebook.

It's official: Facebook has hired the makers of the Gowalla location-based social-networking app.

"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," Facebook said in a statement. "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."

Facebook called Williams and Raymond to discuss the matter shortly after Facebook's F8 conference two months ago, according to a blog post written by Williams and posted today.

"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," he wrote. "Facebook is not acquiring Gowalla's user data."

Austin-based Gowalla has about 30 members listed on its site and about 600,000 users, according to USA Today. The startup in 2009 from investors who also backed Foursquare, including Ron Conway and Kevin Rose.

Facebook, which has purchased about 10 companies, typically is interested in acquiring the talent or staff and not the technology.

The news was firstreported last week by CNN based on an unidentified source.