Facebook To Acquire Mobile Data Compression Specialist Onavo

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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Facebook wants to make access to the Internet cheaper on smartphones

Facebook is to acquire Israeli mobile analytics and data compression specialist Onavo as it seeks to expand its mobile reach by making it easier for people in developing countries to access the social network.

Onavo says its mobile utility apps will continue to operate as a standalone brand once the transaction is complete, and its Tel Aviv-based office will remain open and will become Facebook’s new Israeli base.

”We’ve built world-class products and a remarkably talented team which has pioneered important breakthroughs in data compression technology and mobile analytics,” says Guy Rosen, CEO and co-founder of Onavo. ”Today, we’re eager to take the next step and make an even bigger impact by supporting Facebook’s mission to connect the world.”

Onavo purchase

Onavo CountOnavo also provides mobile security applications and is keen to stress the continued protection of its users.

”As always, we remain committed to the privacy of people who use our application and that commitment will not change,” promises Rosen, who says the company is passionate about assisting Facebook in improving access to the Internet for everyone as part of its role in the Internet.org project.

Internet.org launched in August and involves some of world’ leading IT companies, including Facebook, Ericsson, Nokia, Opera, Samsung and Qualcomm, who promise to work on joint-projects to make Internet access cheaper on mobile devices where fixed-line broadband is either unavailable  or too expensive.

Although the project might have philanthropic justification, Facebook will no doubt be eager to increase the number of members, particularly mobile users, as it seeks to increase the amount it can generate from mobile advertising.

Mobile advertising currently accounts for 41 percent of its total advertising revenue and given the high proportion of Facebook users that access the service via smartphones and tablets, it will be keen to increase this share while also improving the quality of their apps.

Facebook announced its intention to purchase speech recognition and language translation application developer Mobile Technologies in August, while it has also recently acquired British software quality specialist Monoidics in a move widely believed to improve the code quality of the social network’s mobile apps, which frequently suffer from crashes.

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