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Facebook buys fitness app

'Moves' app can track distance users walk, run, cycle and measure calories burned

Facebook buys fitness app
Moves tracks each user's walking, running and cycling activity, as well as the locations they have visited over the course of every day.

Facebook has added to its portfolio once again this week by buying fitness-tracking app, Moves, online sources reported.

The app, which was developed by Finnish start-up, ProtoGeo, runs in the background on users' phones and uses location data to build up a profile of their activities throughout the day. It can track the distance users walk, run or cycle and measure the calories burned. Described as a "surprise hit" by Apple, following its 2013 launch, it has been downloaded 4m times.

ProtoGeo, which has has fewer than 10 employees, announced the news on its blog last week.

"Today, we're delighted to announce that Facebook has acquired our company and the Moves app," the company said.

"Since we launched Moves, we've been focused on running a simple and clean activity diary that millions of people have enjoyed using. Now, we're joining Facebook's talented team to work on building and improving their products and services with a shared mission of supporting simple, efficient tools for more than 1bn people."

ProtoGeo added that Moves will "continue to operate as a standalone app" while stressing that there are no plans to "commingle data with Facebook".

According to the Guardian, Moves tracks each user's walking, running and cycling activity, as well as the locations they have visited over the course of every day. Users who were comfortable with Moves storing that data may have concerns about Facebook owning it.

"For Facebook to really have a global business that can be more than just a fad, it is important for the company to branch out, to invest in apps and services that are not only complimentary but also help the business grow into different vertical market," said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.

"Moves fits right in line with Facebook's goal in this regard, to provide a different type of service which is focused on mobility and social. In keeping Moves as a separate app, Facebook can let the users continue to enjoy the app and improve it, and hopefully grow that app into a top-line technology or product for the company."

Moves launched in January 2013 for iPhone, and had been downloaded 2.5m times from Apple's App Store by the time it launched for Android in September 2013. According to the Guardian, the app stood out from other fitness trackers because it didn't require an external gadget to track people's steps, unlike Fitbit and other rivals.

"We wanted to make a mainstream product for people who are not that into sports or the quantified self," ProtoGeo's designer and chief executive Sampo Karjalainen told The Guardian in September.

"That's also why we have kept the app very simple, clear and approachable, with that element of lifelogging - the complete story of your day - that makes for a different experience to the more fitness-oriented products."

Facebook did not disclose the price it paid for Moves but Reuters reported that a Facebook spokesman said it was "not anywhere near what the company paid for other higher-profile acquisitions recently".

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