Facebook buys stealth mobile startup Osmeta



Facebook Home shows that the social network is on a serious mobile mission. Its latest purchase though indicates that the feature may have been just the beginning.

The social networking giant today confirmed that it had bought out a mobile software startup called Osmeta. The company is yet to release any products, although whatever it’s working on looks like it’ll be able to a run on a large number of devices (not always a pre-requisite among Silicon Valley software companies). According to its about page, its team includes “world-renowned hackers and highly accomplished researchers capable of herculean software engineering.”

According to TechCrunch, Osmeta has been around since late 2011. A number of people who list their former place of employment as Osmeta meanwhile now say they are now employed at Facebook. In fact, reports TechCrunch, one employee even says reports moving to Facebook after it bought out Osmeta in March this year.

If the bumpf about its employees on the Osmeta page is in any way true then, it’s entirely possible that this is an acqui-hire on Facebook’s part. Given a number of former Osmeta employees are now working at Facebook that seems viable. It’s also difficult to say how much Osmeta’s technology is worth to Facebook without knowing what it actually is.

It may however have something to do with Facebook Home. Amit Kumar, CEO of e-commerce app platform Lexity, who knows Osmeta’s Amit Singh from studying together in Delhi has had a stab at guessing why the buy might be important. He reckons that ‘osmeta’ could be “a reference to ‘meta operating system’ – potentially a virtualization technology that allows you to run the same ‘core functionality’ on top of any (potentially mobile) hardware”

The most tantalizing possibility he notes, is that Facebook may have bought Osmeta to work on a way of getting Home “to work on all devices, not just those running Android.”

What if Facebook decided that, strategically, they need Facebook Home to transcend every mobile device — not just Android. Who would you hire to build such a beast, and how would they go about doing it?

Perhaps what osmeta has built so far lets them spread Facebook Home across this fragmented device ecosystem, quickly, in a scalable fashion, and achieve a consistent, Facebook-centered experience, across all devices?



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