Facebook Buys Fitness And Location Tracking App Moves

Facebook continues its spending spree with the acquisition of Finnish firm ProtoGeo, creators of the popular Moves mobile application available for iPhone and Android.

Moves uses a smartphone’s GPS capability to track steps, distance travelled and method of transport. It is also capable of providing data on exercise and calories burned by daily activities.

No financial details of the deal have been disclosed.

Facebook Moves

“Today, we’re delighted to announce that Facebook has acquired our company and the Moves app,” said the Helsinki-based developer. “Since we launched Moves, we’ve been focused on running a simple and clean activity diary that millions of people have enjoyed using.

“Now, we’re joining Facebook’s talented team to work on building and improving their products and services with a shared mission of supporting simple, efficient tools for more than a billion people.”

It is unclear what Facebook’s intentions with Moves are, but some users are likely to be wary that the social network could gain access to a lot of their location data as a result of the acquisition. ProtoGeo and Facebook have moved to ease such fears by promising that Moves will continue as a standalone application, with some staff joining their new parent company.

Location data goldmine

“As part of Facebook’s multi-app strategy, we’re excited to announce that the popular Moves app will be joining Facebook’s suite of applications,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “Key members of Moves will be joining Facebook at our headquarters in Menlo Park, California.  The Moves app will continue to run as a separate, stand-alone application. The Moves team has built an incredible tool for the millions of people who want to better understand their daily fitness activity, and we’re looking forward to the app continuing to gain momentum.”

WhatsApp, which Facebook bought for £11.4 billion earlier this year, has also promised it will retain autonomous despite its new owners.

One possible reason for the acquisition could be that Facebook is eyeing up the mobile fitness market, which has witnessed a lot of activity in recent months. The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a number of health and fitness applications, while Apple is reportedly readying Healthbook for the next major version of iOS.

Last month, Facebook bought virtual reality headset manufacturer Oculus VR in a £1.1 billion deal.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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