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Yahoo adds to mobile developer team with social tool Alike

updated 05:00 pm EST, Tue February 12, 2013

Acquisition mirrors CEO's previous efforts at Google

On Tuesday, Yahoo acquired its third mobile application team since Marissa Mayer took the reins of the company in June. The company announced that it had purchased the company and personnel behind the mobile application Alike, which is a recommendation tool for suggesting local businesses a user may enjoy based on previous visits and other data collected on the customer. The terms of the deal were not announced.

"The Alike team created an app that focuses on personalization -- using the restaurants and places you like to find the ones you'll love. We were very impressed by the team and their approach to building personalized experiences," Yahoo said in a statement Tuesday.

The move mirrors a similar effort Mayer undertook at Google before her departure. Her last two years with the Mountainview search engine giant was spent combining Zagat and Frommer's guides into different Google products to give mobile users access to information on nearby restaurants as well as diners' ratings on the establishments.

Alike was founded by Maria Zhang, previously an employee of Microsoft and Zillow. "We've painstakingly collected hundreds of terabytes of data and crafted complex algorithms to really understand the essence of a place. We compare these essences to discover similar places," she said. "The great thing about this 'big data' approach is that there is no waiting for a critical mass of 500 of your friends or 10 million other people for the service to be useful," Zhang told GeekWire in October.

Similar mobile apps purchased by Yahoo in the last eight months include Stamped, an app that allows users to "stamp" restaurants and other businesses for friends to see. Video conferencing app OnTheAir was purchased in December. Both companies will be combined with the team from Alike to build Yahoo's mobile profile.

As with the OnTheAir team, the Alike app will no longer be supported by the original team. The entire group wil be relocated to Yahoo's offices in Sunnyvale and San Francisco.

by MacNN Staff



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