Gowalla is a location-based sharing service and it used to be similar to, even competed with, Foursquare. Foursquare developed and improved its service, whereas Gowalla seemed content with its 15,000,000 user base and was quickly surpassed by Foursquare. Apparently Gowalla was not quite dead, as Facebook has bought the service and is relocating it to Facebook’s Palo Alto campus.
Gowalla’s unique function had been allowing users to leave virtual goods for other users in certain locations. Checking in would allow these virtual goods to be transferred. Gowalla abandoned that feature and sought a more storytelling like environment. It’s that storytelling focus which makes them a fit for Facebook’s new Timeline feature. Facebook is hoping to better narratize user’s lives and Gowalla must have some technical features to help with that goal. It is possible that Facebook is sticking to their old tricks and purchasing the startup as a way to improve its engineering bench with more talent.
For the digital marketing agency this move will only bring changes in the future. For now Timeline is still on the immediate horizon. This acquisition might improve Timeline but does not seem to offer any changes significant enough to alter plans a firm may have for Timeline. It is very unlikely, though, that this acquisition will not improve Timeline, even if it was merely to increase the talent pool of Facebook’s employees.