SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been shopping again. This time he picked up Onavo, the Tel Aviv based startup whose apps include services designed to monitor and compress mobile data.
The move will benefit Zuckerberg's interests at two levels. With Facebook keenly emphasising its mobile credentials, the Onavo service could persuade doubters that it's time to give the service a go.
Meanwhile his Internet.org initiative plans to bring internet connectivity to the parts that other means just can't reach. Compression technology might make Facebook a viable option in parts of the developing world where data is an expensive luxury, while for the rest of us the prospect of lower roaming charges might be enticing.
As well as being a new subsidiary of Facebook, Onavo will become a satellite office for Facebook in Tel Aviv, the first time it has had a direct presence in Israel. So far there's no information on how much money has changed hands, but figures of between $100m and $200m have been mentioned.
In a blog post, Onavo said, "We're excited to join their team, and hope to play a critical role in reaching one of Internet.org's most significant goals - using data more efficiently, so that more people around the world can connect and share.
"When the transaction closes, we plan to continue running the Onavo mobile utility apps as a standalone brand. As always, we remain committed to the privacy of people who use our application and that commitment will not change."
However, we might speculate that the technology involved could also be integrated into mobile Facebook apps to make them more data efficient, luring more people to share their lives as they live them. µ
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