updated 03:50 pm EST, Tue March 1, 2011
Facebook buys out Beluga product, staff
Facebook has just purchased the group messaging service Beluga, TechCrunch has learned from the social network. Unlike in its previous acquisitions, Facebook has taken over the primarily iOS-focused app and the team behind it. That team is made up of three ex-Google employees and the new owners plan on keeping the service operational, at least for the short term.
The specific terms of the deal weren't revealed, but the Beluga team of Ben Davenport, Lucy Zhang and Jonathan Perlow will be working with the Facebook messaging teams. In a statement, Facebook said the "team will continue their vision for groups and mobile communication as part of Facebook." This could indicate a more group-oriented chat function may be coming to the social networking site and its mobile apps for Android, iOS and other mobile hardware.
Facebook also added that it will reveal plans for its future plans for Beluga within the next few weeks.
Beluga released its own statement, adding it will work together with Facebook to improve ways for groups to communicate and share experiences.