Facebook acquires mobile analytics startup Onavo, could aid Internet.org


Monetising mobile has been the headache Facebook has tried to remedy the last 12 months or so. Connecting the next 5-billion people to the internet is a concern of Mark Zuckerberg’s of late, as evident in the Internet.org effort. In a new bid to improve its mobile offering, as well as aid in providing global internet access, Facebook has acquired Tel Aviv-based Onavo, a startup whose apps specialise in the collection, monitoring and reporting on mobile app data, including usage.

The terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed, but the deal will see both Onavo’s team and its technology move under Facebook’s control. Furthermore, Onavo’s HQ in Tel Aviv will officially become Facebook’s first Israeli office.

Onavo was founded in 2010, and according to AllThingsD, the company primarily focuses on data management and compression through its apps, which is most likely what Facebook is interested in.

For example, one app that Onavo offers, Count, collects and monitors mobile app data for users, enabling them to effectively manage their data-usage. Another app, Extend, compresses your data, which literally increases how far you can stretch your data plans. According to Onavo’s website Extend can allow you to do five times more with your current data plan.

Such services are in alignment with Zuckerberg’s recent announcement of his plans to connect the next 5-billion people to the internet through the Internet.org project, a movement headed by Zuckerberg in partnership with Samsung, Nokia and Qualcomm, among others, to provide global internet access.

The majority of the next 5-billion people to be connected to the internet will come from emerging markets who mainly access the internet via mobile phones, and services such as those offered by Onavo could add huge value.

Onavo co-founders Guy Rosen and Roi Tiger wrote of the acquisition in a blog post: “Our service helps people save money through more efficient use of data… 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.”

Beyond Onavo’s data compression and analytics tools, its Insights app could aid Facebook in optimising the monetisation of its mobile advertising, as it monitors ad campaigns across different networks and provides information on how people are engaging within apps.

The Onavo brand will continue to exist under Facebook, and its apps will still be available in the Google Play store and iStore.



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