Facebook buys fitness-tracking app

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IOL bus apr24 facebook AFP File photo: Jonathan Nackstrand

Facebook Inc. has acquired mobile- fitness application Moves, as the social network jumps into the increasingly popular fitness-tracking market.

Moves, which is operated by Finnish company ProtoGeo Oy, makes an app that works on Apple Inc. iOS devices and those that run on Google Inc.'s Android mobile operating system. The app lets people gather data from a smartphone's accelerometer to determine whether a user is walking, running or doing other physical activities. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Facebook has been increasingly assembling a portfolio of mobile properties, including photo-sharing app Instagram and an agreement earlier this year to acquire text messaging app WhatsApp Inc. With Move, the Menlo Park, California-based company now gets a piece of the burgeoning fitness and health app market that companies including Nike Inc. and Fitbit Inc. have explored. Mobile devices are typically always carried around by their users, making them ideal gadgets to gather data and track activity of their owners.

Facebook has announced several high-priced acquisitions in recent months, including WhatsApp and virtual-reality goggles maker Oculus VR Inc. ProtoGeo was founded in January 2012 and started offering Moves a year later. The app has been downloaded 4 million times, according to the company's website. The startup has raised seed funding from Lifeline Ventures and others.

GAINING MOMENTUM

In a statement, Facebook said several members of Moves will join the social network at its headquarters.

“The Moves app will continue to run as a separate, stand- alone application,” Facebook said. “We're looking forward to the app continuing to gain momentum.”

The disclosure of the acquisition follows Facebook's first- quarter results yesterday, with the company revealing profit and sales that blew past analysts' estimates. Mobile accounted for 59 percent of advertising revenue, up from almost nothing at the time of the company's initial public offering in May 2012.

In a conference call yesterday, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, when asked about the various apps that the company is considering, said, “There's kind of a full ecosystem of different ways that people want to share with different people.”


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