Gowalla co-founder checks out of Facebook

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 … Read more

Facebook closes down Gowalla

Gowalla has checked out.

Three months after Facebook acquired the maker of a location-sharing app for mobile devices, Gowalla has closed up shop.

Gowalla posted a note yesterday on its Web site informing users of the closure and letting them know they will soon be able to download their person data:

"Thank you for going out with Gowalla. It was a pleasure to journey with you around the world. Download your check-ins, photos and lists here soon."

The app, which launched in 2009 at the South By Southwest conference, reportedly had about 600,000 users a year ago. … Read more

Twenty thousand reasons to go to SXSW

More than 20,000 people will roll into Austin, Texas, this week for the annual South by Southwest Interactive festival. The question is, besides copious amounts of free beer and barbecue, why are all those people--a broad mix of marketers, entrepreneurs, journalists, and social media junkies--showing up?

Over the years, SXSW has gotten bigger and has morphed from being an insular technology conference with a tight community of regular attendees to a mainstream event that appeals to everyone from those SXSW veterans to thousands of first-timers who want to get in on the action.

With that many people on hand … Read more

Gowalla team to join Facebook in January

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 … Read more

Facebook reportedly acquires Gowalla

Facebook has acquired Gowalla, which makes a location-based social-networking app for mobile devices, CNN reported tonight.

Some Gowalla employees will move to Facebook's Palo Alto, Calif., offices and work on Facebook's Timeline feature, an unidentified source close to Gowalla said.

Representatives for both Facebook and Gowalla provided statements to CNET via e-mail that said the companies "don't comment on rumors and speculation."

Austin-based Gowalla launched in 2009 but has had difficulty competing against Foursquare in the market for location-sharing apps. The app is available on the iPhone and on Android-based devices and features a large &… Read more

Gowalla goes with stories, guides

Films from Miramax premiere in Facebook, Fusion Garage's Grid 10 gets a date and a $200 price cut, and Gowalla announces version 4.0 of its app that focuses on stories and guides.

Links from Tuesday's episode of Loaded:

Gowalla relaunches Fusion Garage's Grid 10 price cut Miramax movies come to Facebook Google Docs comments-only sharing Dolphin Browser HD Sprint's Drive First Subscribe:  iTunes (MP3)iTunes (320x180)iTunes (HD)RSS (MP3)RSS (320x180)RSS HD

Nearly 1 in 5 smartphone owners use check-in services

Nearly one in five smartphone users are tapping into check-in services like Foursquare and Gowalla, according to a ComScore report released yesterday.

A total of 16.7 million mobile-phone subscribers used location-based services on their phones in March. That amounts to about 7.1 percent of the entire population of mobile users.

But among smartphone users specifically, 12.7 million checked in with such sites during the month, representing 17.6 percent of all smartphone owners, ComScore said.

For the purposes of its study, ComScore included such location-based check-in services as Foursquare, Gowalla, and Facebook Places.

Compared with most smartphone owners, those who used location-based sites on their phones also proved more likely to access other types of mobile content. More than 95 percent of them used their mobile browsers or mobile apps. Almost 62 percent grabbed the news on their mobile devices.

And in a stat that will make retailers happy, almost one third of the users browsed to online retail sites on their phones, while one fourth accessed online shopping guides. Users of check-in sites also got a heavier dose of advertising. Almost 40 percent of respondents said they remembered seeing an online ad during March, compared with just 27.5 percent of all smartphone users who said the same thing.… Read more

Why Gowalla hasn't stopped moving

AUSTIN, Texas--It can't be easy for Josh Williams, the CEO of geolocation service Gowalla, to see once-close rival Foursquare plastered all over his hometown this week for the annual South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW). On the massive outdoor "Pepsi Max Lot" where lucky Foursquare check-ins can earn users "golden tickets" to a Monday night concert by Big Boi, at local vendors participating in a blockbuster partnership between Foursquare and American Express, or just on the smartphones of the tens of thousands of geeks who flood the Texas capital for the conference each year.

"… Read more

SCVNGR at SXSW--high-flying, or head in the clouds?

AUSTIN, Texas--Hailing the 2010s as "the decade of games," Seth Priebatsch, founder of the Google-backed start-up SCVNGR, brought a bright dose of dreamy enthusiasm to the first official keynote of the South by Southwest Interactive Festival on Saturday afternoon.

Plowing through problems from education reform to global warming, and how they could be addressed by applying the principles of games, the skinny Priebatsch showed up for his talk, "The Game Layer on Top of the World," in a bright orange polo shirt with matching sunglasses perched atop his head and spoke with the jerky staccato of … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 1355: We're Gowalla-ing to Disneyland! (podcast)

On today's show, Gowalla teams up with Disney to offer virtual pins, instead of the real ones everyone actually wants. And we discover Molly's never been to Disneyland, so maybe Gowalla should sponsor a road trip! Also, Google eyes Groupon, Cox becomes the first cable company to get into the mobile phone game, and carriers threaten to stop subsidizing iPhones if Apple tries to free the phone from carrier confines. --Molly

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