Beluga. It sounds like a Willy Wonka invention, but it's actually the latest Facebook acquisition. Facebook acquired Beluga, which has only 1,971 Facebook fans, for an undisclosed amount.
Beluga caught Facebook's attention with its group-messaging software. The firm's stated goal is to help groups of friends stay in touch on the go.
Beluga wants mobile users to tap into its technology to do things like plan a night out, share updates, send photos, and other group-messaging tasks. The app also alerts users to last-minute changes in plans for their pod (what Beluga calls a group of friends). The pod can be updated on current locations.
Beluga is a free mobile app currently available for the iPhone and Android devices. It integrates with Facebook, letting Beluga users invite Facebook friends to become part of a pod.
"Since launching Beluga, we've appreciated all the enthusiasm and positive feedback from our users. We're excited to continue to build our vision for mobile group messaging as part of the Facebook team. Beluga and Facebook are committed to create new and better ways to communicate and share group experiences," the Beluga team wrote in the acquisition announcement on its web site.
Facebook has yet to formally acknowledge the acquisition. But Beluga is assuring its users that the app will keep on working as it currently does and no account data will be lost. Beluga promised details about future plans in the coming weeks.
Buying a Google Team
As interesting as the app is, Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, said Facebook's motive was to grab the team of former Google employees that run the application. He added that Beluga likely will become the basis for a Facebook mobile group-messaging tool.
That team includes Ben Davenport, cofounder and CEO of Beluga. Before he launched the company, he helped build Google AdSense and MSN Explorer. Davenport also worked on algorithm development at a high-frequency trading firm.
Lucy Zhang, cofounder and president of Beluga, used to help design and develop products such as Google AdWords, Google News, and Google Docs. After leaving Google, she specialized in mobile app development.
Finally, Jonathan Perlow, cofounder and CTO of Beluga, was a senior staff engineer at Google. He was the tech lead for the Gmail team focusing on user interface and server scalability. Perlow was also responsible for Gmail Chat and Mail Goggles. Before joining Google, he was a development lead at Microsoft.
"There's a good deal of competition in the group-messaging space and Beluga was well regarded," Sterling said. "Group messaging is clearly something that Facebook can and should be doing, and this acquisition helps accelerate that development."
Posted: 2011-03-03 @ 4:27am PT
Posted: 2011-03-03 @ 12:21am PT
well that's fantastic, hope it will soon be able to run on various mobile sets...