Facebook Acquires Israeli Mobile Analytics Startup Onavo
Facebook will acquire both talent and technology as a result of the acquisition — the terms of which were not disclosed — and will also turn Onavo’s Tel Aviv headquarters into Facebook’s new Israel office, a first for the social giant.
Founded in 2010, Onavo dabbles in a number of areas, including mobile app analytics and measurement for marketers (and reporters), as well as in a mobile security division.
It is data management and compression, however, that makes up the bulk of the company’s efforts — and is likely the area that Facebook cares the most about. Onavo offers apps such as “Count,” which monitors the data you use on your smartphone, as well as “Extend,” which shrinks the total amount of information you download on your phone, to maximize your data plan.
These services in particular are in line with the goals of Internet.org, the effort spearheaded by Mark Zuckerberg in conjunction with a host of major global technology companies, which aims to deliver connectivity to the billions of people across the world who do not have Internet access. Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung are among some of the effort’s largest partners.
It is a grand mission, one could say, born out of a sense of enlightened self-interest; Internet connectivity via mobile devices could bring economic and social benefits to those in developing nations who don’t currently have online access. But it also could be a long-term benefit to Facebook, ultimately driving more people to sign up for the world’s largest social network.
“Our service helps people save money through more efficient use of data, and also helps developers, large and small, design better experiences for people,” Onavo co-founders Guy Rosen and Roi Tiger wrote in a company blog post early Monday morning. “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.”
Indeed, in Zuckerberg’s lengthy first treatise on Internet.org, one of the three main methods he proposes to bring more people online seems in line with the Onavo acquisition: “Using less data by improving the efficiency of the apps and experiences we use,” Zuckerberg wrote.
“Onavo will be an exciting addition to Facebook,” a Facebook spokesman told AllThingsD. “We expect Onavo’s data compression technology to play a central role in our mission to connect more people to the Internet, and their analytic tools will help us provide better, more efficient mobile products.”
It is likely, too, that Onavo’s other offerings could be helpful in convincing advertisers to spend more money on Facebook. In August, Onavo launched its “Insights” product, a way for app makers to determine how effective their mobile ad campaigns are in driving new app downloads. Insights dips into data across ad networks to see how different campaigns are faring, and also gives information on how people use the apps.
Facebook plans to keep the Onavo brand alive, according to the company’s blog post, and its apps will continue to be available in Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store for Android.
The future of Onavo’s analytics business under Facebook, however, is unclear.
“We are beginning to evaluate the next steps for the Onavo integration,” a spokesman told AllThingsD.