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Facebook signs mobile data app deal

Facebook signs mobile data app deal

Californian web giant Facebook is set to acquire Onavo, a mobile utility app developer, for more than £60 million.

The deal will see Onavo keep its current Israel-based offices, marking the first time Facebook will have operated a research and development base in the region.

Onavo has experienced success by developing and publishing apps that allow users to cut down on their mobile data bills.

Back in 2011, the firm launched a tool called Onavo Extend, which looked at the apps with the heaviest megabyte usage and compressed data to lower costs by up to 80%.

When the tool was first launched, mobile web surfing packages were generally much smaller than they are today, leading to users of sites like Facebook and Twitter overshooting their data limits while scrolling through news feeds and browsing notifications.

The company was conceived after the brother of founder and CEO Guy Rosen landed a huge phone bill during a trip to Barcelona.

Now downloaded by millions of smartphone users, the award-winning Onavo app is currently free. Officials have said that a monthly subscription fee will likely be brought in at a later date.

Earlier this year, the company revealed a service that displays patterns in the data usage of smartphone apps. Geared towards firms dealing in content for mobile platforms – such as game and app developers – Onavo Insights compiles a hoard of data for companies to analyse, anonymously collected from users who installed their applications.

Rosen said that while mobile companies can confirm the total number of times their apps have been downloaded, they’re often unable to say how much those apps are actually being used – information which the Onavo service can provide.

Richard Bell

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