It’s official. Gowalla shuttered its doors only three months after Facebook’s acquisition and five years after its founding. Today, Foursquare stands as the lone giant lumbering in location-based check-ins, despite the fact that the majority of its users aren’t in fact using Foursquare for checking-in.
Knowing that Gowalla was in its final stretch, Facebook purchased Gowalla in exchange for $3 million of Facebook’s shares, prior to what will be an undoubtedly fruitful IPO. While Gowalla had pivoted to become a travel guide destination, which was leading to its slow death, its purchase was entirely a talent acquisition. With plans to expand Facebook’s location-based API for statuses and updates detailing user’s visits on their Timelines, the majority of Gowalla’s team settled in Facebook’s Palo Alto, while the remainder stayed in Austin to work in Facebook’s Austin office.
Gowalla’s landing page simply states:
“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.”
While Gowalla has been acquired, all the data that has been logged since 2007 will remain behind, available for downloading.
Its competitor, Foursquare, had begun a series of changes to its services beginning in October 2011 with the Radar recommendation engine, which notifies its mobile users when they’re near a venue or restaurant that they may like.
Its latest venue discovery and recommendation feature, Explorer, allows users to search for recommended places based on the, “time of day, places your friends have been or left tips, places on lists you follow, and places we think you’ll like based on the 1,500,000,000 check-ins on Foursquare,” as its blog post states.
Following its Explorer update, Foursquare, using SinglePlatform’s API, added 250,000 restaurant menus. The latest update has included hours of operation for local businesses, including hours for discounts and happy hours.
Its strategy is a dramatic pivot that will see Foursquare taking the form of a mobile recommendation engine coupled with Yelp. “There are a lot of people using Foursquare who aren’t checking in. People use the app to consume data. That’s a really important and interesting trend,” Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s CEO, informed the Wall Street Journal.
With Foursquare’s pivot and the old Gowalla team now building out Facebook’s location-based API, the friendly competition between Foursquare and Gowalla continues to exist. But while Facebook intends to use its location API to leave memories of experiences shared, Foursquare will try to recommend future experiences.
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