Kara Swisher

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Yahoo Acquires Geolocation Service Koprol (Which Translates to Foursquare of Indonesia)

If you can’t buy Foursquare–as Yahoo did not after aggressive efforts to do so–then…buy the Indonesian version of it!

BoomTown has to be honest and say I have never heard of Koprol, a Jakarta-based social geolocation service that bears striking similarities to the hot New York-based one Yahoo (YHOO) offered $100 million for recently to no result.

But that’s just what Yahoo snapped up, announcing the purchase of the mobile-focused start-up for an undisclosed sum tonight.

It is not clear what Yahoo intends to do with the technology from Koprol, but execs called it an emerging-market play.

And, indeed, Koprol could be used to bolster Yahoo “check-in” features globally, especially in Asia.

Frankly, Koprol sounds more robust, innovative and fun than Foursquare.

Yahoo already made another splashy mobile announcement today by unveiling a partnership deal with Finnish handset giant Nokia (NOK).

Here is a video Yahoo posted on the company’s Yodel Anecdotal blog with Kopral’s founders:

And here’s the full Yahoo press release on the Koprol acquisition:

Yahoo! Acquires Koprol; Extends Social and Mobile Strategy With Location-Based Community
Expands Offerings in Rapidly Growing Emerging Markets

SUNNYVALE, Calif. and JAKARTA, Indonesia –May 24, 2010–Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) today announced the acquisition of Koprol. Headquartered in Jakarta, Indonesia, Koprol extends Yahoo’s social, mobile and local offerings and focuses on the intersection of location, community expertise and mobile experiences that have become important trends around the globe. Koprol enables users to interact and share knowledge about their community in a way that is uniquely tailored to mobile phones.

Koprol allows people to connect and share photos, reviews and additional information about locations in real-time using just their mobile phone browser, making the service accessible to a larger percentage of mobile users. Once on Koprol, people can “check-in” to their current location and see where others are and what they are doing. The service helps people find local businesses, such as popular shops or restaurants, based on user ratings including a “thumbs-up” feature to elevate favorite places to the top of the ranking. Users can also start or join discussions based on particular locations and invite friends to participate, creating a unique city-based social mobile community resource.

“Users are increasingly relying on mobile devices to communicate and access the Internet and they are looking for seamless integration between those devices and PCs. This is especially true in many emerging markets where we are introducing the Yahoo! brand to many new-to-Net users,” said Rose Tsou, senior vice president, Asia Region at Yahoo!. “Koprol was uniquely designed for mobile phones and within a year has already built a strong user base. Yahoo! provides the global scale and technology to accelerate growth in Indonesia as well as introduce the service to new markets.”

Yahoo! is focused on providing personally relevant content to its global users on multiple devices and access points. Koprol aggregates a database of locations within a city, created through its community, so that people can find friends or discover new local businesses, neighborhood resources and discussions that are important to them. Yahoo! plans to leverage the rich community of information generated by Koprol users to make its properties and applications, including its homepage and media and communications products, even more locally relevant.

“We are excited to join Yahoo! and look forward to the opportunities being part of a global Internet leader presents,” said Fajar Budiprasetyo, CEO and co-founder of Koprol. “From the beginning, we have leveraged Yahoo!’s open technologies to help build our business, and it was just six months ago when we were showcased at the Yahoo! Hack Day held in Indonesia. This is a great success story for the online community in Indonesia and demonstrates that innovation is recognized wherever it occurs.”

Yahoo! will continue to invest in evolving Koprol’s service, such as the new BlackBerry™ application introduced today, and expects to announce new mobile applications for both local and global mobile platforms in the future.

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