Everything you need to know about Onavo, Facebook’s most recent acquisition

everything you need to know about onavo facebooks most recent acquisition fb

Facebook just bought a start-up with 40 employees you’ve probably never heard of, but it could play an integral role in the company’s future. 

As Facebook continues to evolve, its goals are becoming increasingly lofty. In addition to its efforts to become a search mainstay and continuing to expand its mobile presence, Mark Zuckerberg has started a wide-ranging project called Internet.org pushing for universal access to the Internet (and, you know, Facebook). This quest to get every single person on the planet connected through technology borders on quixotic, but even if truly catholic coverage is an impossibility, Facebook is serious about the mission — and the purchase of Tel Aviv, Israel-based data compression start-up Onavo is a strong indication that the social network has plans in motion. 

Here’s what you need to know about Facebook’s purchase of Onavo.

This will be Facebook’s first official foray into Israel 

The company hasn’t had an office in Israel before, but Onavo announced that its workspace would remain open and function as Facebook’s Tel Aviv office. Perhaps Onavo’s employees weren’t keen on the ridiculous housing market of Menlo Park. This isn’t the first Israeli start-up Facebook has acquired — it purchased Face.com, a company focused on powerful facial recognition, in 2012. As Facebook continues to delve into more advanced facial recognition, its decision to acquire Face.com looks like a smart move, but it didn’t precipitate a physical move to Israel like this more recent purchase has.  

We don’t know how much Facebook paid, but reports say at least $100 million 

According to TechCrunch, there’s no official figure attached to the deal, but Israeli paper Calcalist reports between $150-200 million and other sources put the figure closer to $100 million. Whether the real sum is closer to the low end or the high end of that range, it’s a massive amount of money for Onavo, which started three years ago and has previously raised around $13 million in venture funding. 

Onavo could have many uses for Facebook

Onavo isn’t as sexy a purchase as Instagram, which was an app everybody already loved before Facebook swooped in. Even though Onavo isn’t particularly exciting on its own, the company has two primary areas where it helps with efficiency, and each could be of use to Facebook.

First, Onavo’s current roster of apps helps smartphone users save money on their data bills by providing accurate breakdowns of how much data apps are using, and by compressing the data you use by up to 500 percent. Since Facebook is increasingly focused on mobile, the acquisition of a tool that will help users save money on their data packages could be an enormous hook — sure, you’re using a bunch of data checking Facebook on your iPhone, but now the social network can help you save money on that data. 

While data compression was Onavo’s first venture, it also does analytics for mobile apps, providing insights about mobile marketing, ad spends, what’s driving traffic, and benchmark information. The insight component could be a big help to Facebook because, apart from giving Facebook another way to evaluate what is working and not working in its own app, it could provide valuable information to other developers, who may become more interested in working with Facebook if they know they’ll get their apps accurately evaluated. 

An important role in Internet.org looks likely 

Onavo announced the purchase in a brief blog post, and it didn’t give too much away — but CEO Guy Rosen did specifically mention the company was excited about the Internet.org endeavor. “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,” Rosen writes. 

Onavo could easily play a critical role in Internet.org, since it could help Facebook minimize data costs in a way that will make it more feasible for people in developing countries to access the Internet through a mobile device. 

Mobile

Google Maps adds a new tab showing restaurants’ most popular dishes

Google Maps is testing a new Popular tab for restaurants to make it easier to order a tasty-looking dish you've spotted on the app. Some users are seeing it under the Menu tab, which already includes meal information for diners.
Social Media

Facebook F8 Developer Conference: Complete Coverage

When developers want to know what Facebook is working on, they head to F8. The annual two-day conference highlights the company’s latest technologies in development and is an opportunity to meet Facebook engineers. It’s also where CEO…
Social Media

Twitter: Now you can jazz up your retweets with GIFs, photos, and videos

Twitter for Android, iOS, and its mobile site now lets you add GIFs, photos, and videos to retweets. The feature, which the company said people have been asking for, can be enabled in a few quick taps.
Social Media

Tinder Lite will soon launch to bring the dating game into emerging markets

Tinder Lite, a lightweight version of the dating app, will soon launch in emerging markets where access to data may be limited. The app will look to bring more people into the dating game, as Tinder looks to maintain its growth.
Social Media

Update WhatsApp! Sophisticated attack installs spyware with just a call

A WhatsApp vulnerability left Android and iOS devices open to attack from sophisticated surveillance software that could be installed simply by calling the targeted person through the app.
Social Media

Twitter sorry for mistakenly storing and sharing some users’ location data

Twitter has revealed that a bug led to it accidentally storing and sharing location data for a number of iOS users. The issue, which has now been fixed, affected those operating more than one Twitter account from the app.
Photography

Photographer sues Ariana Grande after she posts his images of her on Instagram

A professional photographer is suing Ariana Grande after she posted photos on Instagram that he'd taken of her. Grande used the post to promote one of her albums, but the photographer says she used the photos without permission.
Social Media

Save me: How to download Instagram photos from any device

Browsing photos in Instagram is one thing, but saving them is another. Until recently, it wasn't easy to get your pics and data off the 'gram and saved elsewhere, but now you can download Instagram photos with just a few clicks.
Social Media

Instagram ditches plans for stand-alone Direct messaging app

Instagram is shuttering it's stand-alone messaging app, Direct, after testing it since 2017. While the messaging features remain intact inside Instagram, the separate app will be discontinued in the next few weeks.
Social Media

6 easy ways to archive all of your favorite Instagram videos

Saving Instagram videos should be just as easy as taking a screenshot. So, we've put together a list of the best apps and tools that save your favorite Instagram videos onto your phone or computer.
Social Media

Instagram’s new Explore grid tempts you to open your wallet

Instagram has made some changes to its Explore tab that might tempt you into the occasional shopping spree. It's also planning to add Stories to the grid, mixing them up with the existing photos and videos.
Social Media

Be the master of your own Insta-verse with multiple Instagram accounts

Whether you own a small business or have separate Instagram accounts for your five cats, we'll walk you through the process of switching between your multiple accounts on your Apple or Android devices.
Social Media

A fond farewell to Grumpy Cat, the internet’s most famous feline

The worst day ever. We say farewell and offer a fond remembrance for Grumpy Cat, the internet's most famous frowning feline, meme and a genuine sweetheart, who died at the age of seven. Exceptionally even tempered and tolerant, Grumpy Cat…
Mobile

Treat yo' selfie with one of these 13 apps made to beautify your pics

Selfies might be a phenomenon second only to karaoke, but they're not the easiest thing in the world to create. Thankfully, these awesome selfie apps for Android and iOS will make beautifying your self-portraits easier than capturing them.