Gowalla is a location-based social networking service. It originally launched in 2007 and closed in 2012, but was relaunched on March 10, 2023. Users are able to check in at "Spots" in their local vicinity, either through a dedicated mobile application or through the mobile website. Checking-in will sometimes produce virtual "items" for the user, some of which are developed to be promotional tools for the game's partners. As of November 2010 there were approximately 600,000 users.[1] In January 2021, Gowalla made an announcement that the app is coming back in 2022.[2]

Type of businessSubsidiary
Type of site
Social networking
Key peopleJosh Williams, Scott Raymond, Keegan Jones, Andy Ellwood
ParentMeta Platforms, Inc.(2011–present)
Launched2007; 17 years ago (2007)
Current statusOnline

At the start of December 2009 it was reported that Gowalla had raised $8.4 million in a round of venture capital funding led by Greylock Partners and angel investors Chris Sacca, Kevin Rose and Jason Calacanis.[3][4] It was acquired by Facebook on December 2, 2011, for an undisclosed sum [5] Gowalla, Inc. was based in Downtown Austin, Texas.[6] On March 10, 2012, Gowalla announced it would cease operation and users would be able to download their checkins, photos and lists soon.[7] However, this seems to have fallen through, as the site was made unavailable before these histories could be downloaded.



Gowalla is a primarily mobile application that allows users to check into locations that they visit using their mobile device. This is done either through the use of dedicated applications available on Google Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, Palm WebOS, and BlackBerry, or via the service's mobile website. Check-ins can be pushed via Notifications to iPhones, and by linking accounts, to Twitter and Facebook.

"Trips", which as of January 2010 [8] can be made by any user, linked together up to 20 related spots, grouped into categories such as Nature Hikes or Pub Crawls.

Some Spots and Trips are "featured" by Gowalla, being highlighted on their website and awarded a special status and icon. Featured spots tend to be local landmarks such as Buckingham Palace in London, while featured trips were chosen for being "unique and exciting".[8] Within the Gowalla community, certain users have an elevated status above that of normal users. Whereas every user could create a spot and maintain its details, members of the Street Team are able to move and edit any unlocked spots. This includes the ability to merge duplicate spots.

In early versions of the service, users will occasionally receive a virtual "Item" as a bonus upon checking in, and these items can be swapped or dropped at other spots. Users become "Founders" of a spot by dropping an item there. Items form a key feature within the game and each user has a vault into which they can place items they want to keep. In a September 2011 update, items and the user's vault became less of a focus of the application and were removed from the user experience. Many users were unhappy with the removal of Items.[9]

On December 2, 2010, Gowalla released version 3.0 for the iPhone 4, allowing Gowalla users to check in using Foursquare, Facebook Places, Twitter, and Tumblr, or view friends' check-ins from other services.[10] In March 2011 an Android version of Gowalla was released. This allowed the same features that applied to the iPhone 4 to be used on Android phones; it also updated the interface dramatically to introduce a new "Passport" look.[11] In June 2011 a Windows Phone 7 version of Gowalla was released with a similar feature set.[12]

The acquisition of Gowalla by Facebook was announced on December 2, 2011.[13] Gowalla, as a service, was shut down on March 11, 2012.[14] Gowalla stated that Facebook would not be acquiring any of Gowalla's user data.[15]

On October 20, 2020 Josh Williams announced a return of Gowalla with a new concept for Spring 2021.[16] The revamped app was released on the iPhone on March 10, 2023.[17] On April 20, 2023, Gowalla announced through their community Discord server that they have paused active development.



Gowalla won the Mobile category in the 2010 South by Southwest Interactive awards.[18]

See also



  1. ^ Swartz, Jon (2010-12-02). "The latest from Gowalla is worth checking out". USAToday. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
  2. ^ A journey that began 12 years ago is taking an unexpected new turn in 2021. Here's an update about our travels as we welcome some new (and old) friends to our adventure. 🧡❤️💜, 2021-01-28, retrieved 12 November 2021
  3. ^ McCarthy, Caroline (2009-12-09). "Geolocation wars heat up: Gowalla raises $8.4 million". CNET. Archived from the original on 2011-11-15. Retrieved 2009-12-26.
  4. ^ Hawkins, Lori (2009-12-10). "Gowalla raises $8.4 million to expand in Austin". Statesman.com. Archived from the original on 2009-12-13. Retrieved 2009-12-26.
  5. ^ Segall, Laurie (2011-12-03). "Facebook buys Gowalla". CNN. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  6. ^ "Terms Archived 2011-11-26 at the Wayback Machine." Gowalla. Retrieved on December 5, 2011. "610 W 5th Suite 604 Austin, TX 78701"
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-10. Retrieved 2015-04-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ a b "New Features: Trips and Bookmarks". Gowalla Blog. 2010-01-28. Archived from the original on March 25, 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  9. ^ "Gowalla Updated To Version 4.0 - Removes Features, Adds Force Closes". 2011-09-22. Retrieved 2012-10-26.
  10. ^ Chartier, David. "Gowalla 3.0 Unites Facebook, Foursquare Check-ins". Archived from the original on 6 December 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
  11. ^ "Gowalla 3 for Android finally out". Archived from the original on 2011-07-14.
  12. ^ mcalliph (2011-06-28). "Gowalla: Gowalla for Windows Phone 7 is here!". Blog.gowalla.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2012-10-26.
  13. ^ Kincaid, Jason (2 December 2011). "Report: Facebook Has Acquired Gowalla". TechCrunch. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  14. ^ Cabalona, Jeremy. "Gowalla Is Officially Shut Down". Mashable. Retrieved 2018-03-02.
  15. ^ Josh Williams (5 December 2011). "Gowalla is Going to Facebook". Gowalla. Archived from the original on 2011-12-17. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  16. ^ "Honestly been staring at this for 30 minutes and don't exactly know what to say". 2020-10-20. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  17. ^ "Today my friends and I are beyond happy to introduce the new Gowalla We believe the time is right once again for a social app to connect us with our REAL friends in the REAL world". Twitter. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  18. ^ Richmond, Shane (2010-03-18). "SXSW 2010: The changing face of the web". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 18 March 2010.

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