Facebook Confirms Divvyshot Purchase as Talent Acquisition

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-04-05

Facebook confirmed April 5 that it has purchased Divvyshot, which lets groups of people upload photos to the Web, share them and edit them, for an undisclosed sum.

Divvyshot's technology groups its 40,000 users' photos into collections called "events," allowing multiple people to contribute to one so that users don't have to publish pictures as separate albums. Pictures uploaded by friends automatically appear in the events that have been created or joined.

Facebook will apply Divvyshot's approach to online photo sharing to its Facebook Photos service, which has gotten a speed increase and a refresh as part of the company's homepage redesign.  

Facebook confirmed the buy, which came a month after Google acquired Web photo editing service Picnik,  but was vague about details.

"We recently completed a small talent acquisition involving the team at Divvyshot," a Facebook spokesperson told eWEEK. "We've admired the engineering team's efforts for some time now and this is part of our ongoing effort to add strong talent to help drive the company forward in its efforts to be the central way for people to connect and share information."

Divvyshot founder Sam Odio announced the Facebook deal on his company's blog April 2, noting that he, Designer Michael Yuan and Developer Paul Carduner would be joining Facebook as engineers to work on Facebook Photos.

He added that Divvyshot would be winding down the Website's operations, thus underscoring that Facebook's move was about talent rather than propelling the Divvyshot service.

However, Odio strongly implied that Divvyshot's method would continue to exist in some fashion, even if the destination, the user experience and some of the code would be different.

"We know many of our users will have mixed feelings about this move," Odio said. "While this means Divvyshot as you know it will cease to exist, it's important to realize that our unique approach to photos will live on. This is an opportunity to touch hundreds of millions of users with the best parts of our product. That's something we hope you can get behind."

Selling out to large companies for scale is a common move in Silicon Valley, where startups impress corporate development teams at larger companies before getting snapped up.

Aardvark, for example, was a social search engine before Google acquired it. Aardvark CEO Max Ventilla said at the time the deal would help the service reach a scale it wouldn't be able to reach on its own.

This doesn't always make it painless for users who join these often free Web services because of word of mouth, only to find the rug pulled out from under them after they've ceded their data to the startup's cloud. Fortunately, this isn't entirely the case with Divvyshot.

While no new accounts will be issued and the company's iPhone application will no longer be available for download, Divvyshot will let users export their original-resolution photos to ease the transition off Divvyshot.

Odio said existing users can continue to use Divvyshot to varying degrees over the next six weeks before all visitors will be redirected to Facebook's Website.

Read more about this deal on Techmeme here. 

Facebook, which turned six years old in February, is showing signs of being more acquisitive. The company picked up FriendFeed in 2009 and open-sourced its Web server.

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