December 5, 2011, 4:07 PM

Facebook hires the co-founders of mobile check-in service Gowalla

The social network also says it will open an office in New York.

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Facebook Inc. has hired Josh Williams and Scott Raymond, who are the co-founders of mobile check-in service Gowalla Inc., along with other members of the company’s team.

The service, which launched around the same time as mobile check-in service foursquare, enabled consumers to build a Gowalla Passport, a virtual scrapbook that records where they have been, the people they were with and the stories they shared on the Gowalla service.

Facebook, which has its own check-in program, will not acquire Gowalla’s technology. Gowalla will shut down at the end of January.

“In talking with the Gowalla team, we realized that we share many of the same goals—building great products that reach millions of people, making a big impact quickly, and creating new ways for people to connect and share what’s going on in their lives,” says a Facebook spokesman.

The Gowalla team will join Facebook’s design and engineering teams. Facebook declines to comment on where they will be located. Gowalla is based in Austin, TX.

Facebook today also said it is opening an office New York City that will house engineering staff. The office, which will open early next year, will be the social network’s first outside the West Coast.

"More than 800 million people around the world rely on Facebook, and more than half of them visit every day,” says Mike Schroepfer, Facebook's vice president of engineering. “Operating at such a large scale, and innovating as quickly as we do, we need to recruit the most talented engineers in the world. New York has a strong history of innovation and is home to thousands of talented technical people, and we want them to help us solve the challenges of designing and building the next generation of Facebook.”

The office will be led by Serkan Piantino, an engineering manager at Facebook who previously managed the engineering team behind Facebook's news feed, the first page a user sees when logging on to Facebook.com.

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