Nokia Acquires Geo-based Social Network

The world's largest mobile phone maker adds Plazes to complement Nokia Maps.

European geo-based companies continue to be a hot commodity, with Nokia announcing June 23 it has acquired Plazes, which develops Web platforms for location sharing and publishing. Vodafone acquired ZYB, a mobile social network, in May for $31.5 million.

Terms of Nokia's deal with Plazes were not disclosed, but the acquisition is the second geo-based company bought by Nokia. In 2006, Nokia bought Gate5 for $250 million and turned it into Nokia Maps.

The deal allows Nokia to extend its context-based service offering with social presence and time-based activity planning features. Plazes adds the elements of place and time to social networking through features that allow people to alert friends and associates to their activities and locations.

Click here to read about Nokia's three-year deal with France Telecom's Orange to push digital entertainment services in Europe.

Users can also review their own and others' past activities and share their experiences and make plans with friends, who can respond with comments and suggestions as well as their own location information.

"This acquisition helps Nokia to accelerate its vision of bringing people and places closer together, in line with our broader services strategy," said Niklas Savander, chief of Nokia Services & Software.

Felix Petersen, co-founder of Plazes, said Nokia shares his company's vision of the social networking space. "We feel proud of what the Plazes team has achieved so far with its pioneering work in context-aware services and we feel even more excited about what's to come next," Petersen said.

Members of Plazes use the service for location sharing, updating locations through either laptops or mobile phones, and updating their online presence with their current, past and future whereabouts.