Nokia Corporation Buys Global Location-Aware Interaction Social Network, Plazes

Posted Jun 23, 2008

“This acquisition helps Nokia to accelerate its vision of bringing people and places closer together, in line with our broader services strategy,”
stated Niklas Savander, Nokia’s head of Internet services.

Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) has acquired Plazes, a mobile social networking startup.  Some of Plazes’ competition includes Twitter and Jaiku.  Plazes is based in Berlin, Germany and employs roughly around 13 people.

Nokia sees a huge opportunity for geographic pinpointing of mobile users.  In October 2007, Nokia acquired Navteq Corporation for $8.1 billion.  Navteq integrates maps into handheld devices and Google Maps depends on their technology.

Some of Plazes’ tools include The Plazer, PlazeSMS, Map Widget, Plazes vs. Google Earth, calendar public activity, and Plazes & Fire Eagle.  The Plazer alows users to regularly update friends with your activities.  PlazeSMS is a feature that sends text messages to give away your location and find out your friend’s location.  Map Widget publicizes where your current location is on a blog or MySpace/Facebook profiles.  Plazes vs. Google Earth is the ability to watch a live streaming activity of where your friends are on Google Earth.  The calendar public activity shares your calendar with friends on iCal, Microsoft Outlook, or Google calendar.  Plazes & Fire Eagle broadcasts your location on Yahoo! Fire Eagle.

Plazes was founded in December 2005 and received seed funding from Esther Dyson and Marc Andreessen.  Then the company raised $3.5 million from Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures.  The price of this acquistion was undisclosed.  The 13 employees of Plazes will remain in Germany.