CNN is reporting that Facebook has acquired location based social network Gowalla for an undisclosed sum. Gowalla, which was one of the stars of SXSW 2009, had been struggling in recent times, having lost the battle of check-in services to Foursquare. Towards the end of last year, it almost conceded as much by integrating competing services like Foursquare and Facebook Places into the mobile app. More recently, it has been trying to sell itself as a travel and storytelling app. On the other hand, Facebook also failed to hurt Foursquare’s dominance, and has been relatively quiet about the Places feature.
Considering the circumstances, an acquisition by Facebook might be the best possible outcome for Gowalla. The amount paid by Facebook for the acquisition is not known; however, it will almost certainly not be on the higher end of the spectrum. However, the more interesting question is what Facebook intends to do with Gowalla. Facebook has a frustrating habit of acquiring promising apps and killing them off. It’s most likely that they will do the same with Gowalla at some point next year. However, the travel diary and guide features unveiled by Gowalla at TC Disrupt are intriguing and compelling. CNN believes that Gowalla’s team will work on the Timeline feature that Zuckerberg unveiled earlier in the year. Timeline is still under beta testing, and available only to developers and select users.