updated 08:55 am EDT, Mon June 23, 2008
Nokia Acquires Plazes
Nokia on Monday revealed that it has acquired Plazes, a small German software startup. The deal gives access to a self-titled social activity app and website that adds both time and location to short, Twitter-like updates; users can not only pinpoint their present locations while they supply a short text message but also coordinate events for the future, setting a future event with a map marker that lets friends coordinate meetups in advance.
The cellphone designer is clear about its intentions and plans to add the resources from Plazes to its cellphones' "social presence and time-based activity planning features," pointing to the creation of a Nokia alternative to Twitter as well as a more direct competitor to Loopt and similar map-based services. Nokia phones have often had access to short-form social messaging apps such as Jaiku but have rarely seen this connected with mapping, which would more directly take advantage of the GPS built into the N95 8GB and most other high-end Nokia phones.
Nokia expects to blend Plazes into its software division during the summer, when it expects the deal to be approved by government officials. The Finnish company doesn't say if it will continue Plazes' beta service, which is currently available for both Macs and PCs but is only reachable by most phones through SMS messages.