Facebook Shutters Gowalla Three Months After Acquiring It

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Gowalla, which got its start at South by Southwest three years ago, has gone dark for this year’s festival. Users who try to log in to the location-based app’s homepage now get the message “Thank you for going out with Gowalla. It was a pleasure to journey with you around the world.”

This isn’t exactly a surprise. Facebook bought the Austin-based company three months ago and made it clear that the service was eventually going to wind down. The company said this in a statement back in December:

We know how much many of you loved Gowalla. It’s been the highlight of our lives as we’ve built it with your help over the past two years. As we move forward, we hope some of the inspiration behind Gowalla — a fun and beautiful way to share your journey on the go — will live on at Facebook.

The statement went on to say that users would be able to export all of their data, which was not acquired by Facebook.

(MORE: Can a New Breed of Geolocation Apps Beat Privacy Fears to Make It Big?)

Gowalla never took off the way that its rival Foursquare did (the two launched at the same time). Both services let you “check in” to locations to see who else was there, offering rewards in the form of stamps (Gowalla) and badges (Foursquare) for using the service often.

After being acquired for an undisclosed amount of money, founder Josh Williams and other employees moved from Texas to Palo Alto to work on Facebook Timeline — a good move considering the failure of Facebook Places, the company’s short-lived attempt to get into the location-sharing game. Gowalla says users will be able to download all of their check-ins, photos and lists soon.

MORE: SXSW: Why Geo-Fencing Might Change Your Life (and Make You Believe in Location Sharing)