Facebook is set to purchase ProtoGeo Oy, the Helsinki, Finland-based company behind Moves fitness app, announced the start-up in a blog post.
The latest app to join the Facebook portfolio, Moves tracks user’s daily activity on iPhone and Android phones. According to the company, the Moves app has been downloaded more than 4 million times since launching in January 2013.
The acquisition gets Facebook into the booming fitness tracking market and allows it to bypass the need for development of a separate wearable.
Research firm Canalys says 16 million smart bands shipped in 2013 and estimates that number will grow to 23 million in 2015. The Moves app allows users to track their fitness activity by keeping their phones in their pocket or even in a bag and plots routes on a map without having to turn on the app.
Moves also connects with over 40 other apps such as EveryMove, Earndit, Momento, Narrato, Tictrac, and integrates with RunKeeper, Foursquare and Evernote.
The first thing that comes to mind with this acquisition is ad opportunities. The startup was quick to address privacy concerns in the announcement, explaining that there are no plans to integrate the app with other Facebook services or share data at this time.
For those of you that use the Moves app – the Moves experience will continue to operate as a standalone app, and there are no plans to change that or commingle data with Facebook.
Facebook has taken a similar approach with both other app acquisitions, Instagram and Whatsapp. Facebook recently went on record to say that location and nearby friends data is not being used for ad targeting currently. However, that’s not to say that the valuable location and activity data from those features, and now the Moves app, won’t be harvested for ad targeting and integrations at some point.