Gowalla, the one time fierce competitor of Foursquare in the location-based social networking realm, will cease operations in January as the app's co-founders and key personnel have decamped for greener pastures at Facebook.

Gowalla CEO Josh Williams confirmed the news today in a blog post. Though he and other Gowalla employees will be joining the house Mark Zuckerberg built, Facebook did not buy Gowalla nor any of its user data.

In September, Gowalla had abandoned the "check in" model in favor of a new system that allowed users to post "stories" with text, photos and videos about the places they went with friends. The Austin-based startup will continue to run until the end of January.

[via AllThingsD]