Monday, June 23, 2008

Location,Location,Location,Nokia grabs Plazes

It’s been a while since I talked about location based applications. Well, i'm happy to see LBS based startups gaining momentum and actually being acquired. Today, Nokia grabbed plazes. Plazes is a location based social networking startup that provides a context aware social activity service.

Plazes is a 13 people company located in Berlin. Plazes supports updating your location using FireEagle,Desktop software using WIFI or SMS. For sharing location, plazes support iCal, map widgets and KML. Congratulations to the plazes team for pulling through the rough times. This is a crowded market with no clear winners so far. Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2008, were not disclosed. Considering there was no revenue so far and the investment not that big, nokia wouldn’t have spent big bucks.

Here is what Nokia has to say about the acquisition:

"This acquisition helps Nokia to accelerate its vision of bringing people and places closer together, in line with our broader services strategy," said Niklas Savander, Head of Nokia Services & Software. "In addition to the key assets, through this acquisition Nokia will bring on a visionary team with an advanced understanding of social-activity services, as well as the technical ability to further develop this area."

By acquiring Plazes, Nokia will be able to extend its context-based service offering with social presence and time-based activity planning features. Plazes adds the elements of "place" and "time" to social networking through features that allow people to alert friends of their activity and location; review their own and others' past activities; share their experiences and make plans with friends, who are then able to respond with comments and suggestions as well as their own location information.

Some of the other startups that are trying their luck in location based applications are Loopt, Whrrl and BrightKite . Loopt is making great strides in North America. They have partnership with some of the biggest operators in North America. This is definitely a big deal compared to other startups.

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