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Facebook Buys Onavo for Data Compression and Analytics
Facebook Buys Onavo for Data Compression and Analytics

By Nancy Owano
October 14, 2013 11:32AM

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In addition to apps that can show users details on data usage so that they can better budget their data, Onavo offers an Insights mobile market intelligence service based on user engagement data. This service can show usage patterns of smartphone applications. Facebook has acquired the Israeli-based Onavo.
 



Onavo, a 3-year-old company known for its data compression technology and mobile analytics, has been snapped up by Facebook. The Tel Aviv-based start-up, with an office in Palo Alto, Calif., announced the purchase on its official blog on Sunday.

Guy Rosen, co-founder and CEO and Roi Tiger, co-founder and CTO, posted on the blog, saying, "We are joining the Facebook team," and reporting that Facebook has agreed to acquire the company. Onavo's Tel Aviv office will remain open and is to become Facebook's satellite Israeli office, as well.

The Data Compression Advantage

Founded in 2010, Onavo has made a name for itself in the use of compression technology to cut down on the expense of data transfer. Specifically, the company has been offering apps for data compression so that people can save money on their phone bills.

Onavo uses servers to reroute and compress users' mobile data, in a cloud-based compression design. Once the app is installed, content consumed is compressed in the cloud, and then sent back to the user's device, only this time in a lighter form, saving on service costs.

The technology has proven useful for travelers visiting other countries, for example, and trying to keep their roaming costs down.

Using Data More Efficiently

Facebook, meanwhile, has reason to see how the Onavo core technology can help as part of its Internet.org initiative to make online access more affordable around the world.

Internet.org aims to make mobile Internet access more easily available to the billions of people who do not yet have it. The Israeli firm's technology will help users in parts of the world where Internet access is still considered an unaffordable luxury.

"We hope to play a critical role in reaching one of Internet.org's most significant goals -- using data more efficiently," said Onavo's Rosen and Tiger in the blog.

Similarly, Facebook said it expects Onavo's data compression technology to play a central role in its mission to connect more people to the Internet.

Not to be dismissed, though, is another Onavo attraction for the social networking superstar, and that is analytics.

Actionable Metrics

In addition to apps that can show users details on data usage so that they can better budget their data usage, Onavo also offers an Insights mobile market intelligence service, based on user engagement data. This service can show usage patterns of smartphone applications, which can be especially helpful for game developers, application developers, and advertising.

"No more vanity metrics," is the promotional slogan for Insights. The service can deliver "actionable metrics and never-before-seen competitive insights, based on the world's largest mobile panel, that empower you to master the mobile app ecosystem."

Office Presence

Onavo's database of such information is collected anonymously from users who installed the apps on their phones and saved on their data usage.

Terms of the purchase deal were not disclosed, but based on Israeli press reports, estimates range between $100 million and $200 million (US).

Onavo is not the first company in Israel to be acquired by Facebook, which already bought two others. The Onavo buy marks a first, however, in that Onavo's Tel Aviv office will be Facebook's new Israeli office.
 

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