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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Facebook acquires Helsinki-based Moves

Facebook is moving into the fitness and location tracking space, announcing the acquisition of Helsinki-based Protogeo, the maker of Moves. The acquisition size wasn’t announced, but a Facebook representative told the WSJ that the size was “nowhere near the size of other acquisitions the company has made in recent months.”

Moves is a passive fitness tracker designed to be left on all day to track everywhere you go. The app can differentiate between public transportation, walking, running, cycling, or driving a car, and if you stay put in one place long enough, you can later go through your map and “check in” to that location. The app is so open ended that it fits any number of uses. For the quantified self folks it’s a great way to collect data, for people trying to stay more active it counts the distance you’ve walked every day, and for others it’s just a good way to collect memories of where you’ve been.

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All of these user groups probably see a drain in the battery life, one of the problems plaguing moves since it’s inception, but the app has progressively gotten better and better.

Moves will operate separately from Facebook but the WSJ reports the founders will move from Helsinki to London and Menlo Park to work in the Facebook offices.

According to the company’s Twitter, they have no plans to comingle data with Facebook. Despite that, I’m really not excited that Facebook has the potential for a step by step recount of where I spend all my time – it would be depressing for anyone at Facebook HQ to see my boring grind between the office and home every day. But like the backlash against Whatsapp and Oculus Rift, it wouldn’t be surprising to see an initial response to the “creepiness” of the news.

What will happen as moves progresses as a standalone app? We’ll have to wait and see.

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