Facebook pursues group texting with Beluga acquisition

Beluga is a new-ish startup, less than a year old, with an app that allows users to share text updates and photos with a group of people, sort of like your own, private Twitter feed except entirely self-contained. The small company’s website — just three people! — was updated late yesterday with the announcement that Beluga has been acquired by Facebook.

The purchase gives the global social network ownership of the app of course, but it also adds the knowledge of the company’s three-strong engineering team to its development initiatives. Facebook is already well-established in the mobile space, and the addition of features offered by a Beluga-like service — or perhaps simply an extension of the app itself — will only strengthen its presence.

“We talked to people at Facebook, we saw how much our visions aligned,” Beluga co-founder Ben Davenport told CNNMoney. “We have a lot of fans of the app inside Facebook, and we think that by joining forces, we will have an opportunity to build something very powerful for many many more users.”

Beluga will continue to function as a standalone app for the time being, offering free, group texting to one and all. The announcement on the company’s website reads, “For now, Beluga will continue to function as it does today. Your Beluga account and data will not be lost.” The actual practice of group texting still hasn’t seen widespread use, though that is expected to change at this year’s South By Southwest, where social media platforms Twitter and FourSquare previously found their initial footing among a larger swath of users.

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