Facebook did not disclose the price it paid for ProtoGeo Oy, the
2-year-old Helsinki company that makes the Moves app. A Facebook
spokesman said the price for ProtoGeo, which has fewer than 10
employees, was not anywhere near what the company had paid for other
higher-profile acquisitions recently.
Facebook has begun 2014 by going on a shopping spree, paying $19
billion for mobile messaging service WhatsApp in February and $2.3
billion for virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR a couple of
Fitness tracking is attracting the attention of large and small
technology companies, with companies such as Fitbit and Jawbone
selling electronic bracelets that measure the wearer's activities.
In March, Google Inc announced a special version of its Android
operating system aimed at smartwatches and other types of wearable
computers. The Android Wear project will enable devices that can be
outfitted with a variety of sensors to track a user's heart rate or
measure the distance jogged, Google said.
With the Moves app, Facebook can enter the market without developing
its own wearable computing hardware. The app uses a smartphone's
built-in sensors to track a person's physical activity, recognizing
movements such as walking, cycling and running.
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Facebook said Moves, which would continue to operate as a separate
app, fit into its recent strategy of offering a variety of
standalone mobile apps, such as Instagram for photo-sharing,
Facebook Messenger for messaging and WhatsApp.
Sampo Karjalainen, whose official title is "designer CEO" of
ProtoGeo, began working at Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters last
week, the Facebook spokesman said.
The free Moves app has been downloaded more than 4 million times for
iPhone and Android phones, according to ProtoGeo.
(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
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