October 15, 2013
Data Compression Startup Onavo Finds A Home At Facebook
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Yesterday morning Facebook announced they had acquired the company for an undisclosed sum of money, leading some to believe Onavo will be essential in Zuckerberg’s pet project, Internet.org, an organization that aims to deliver Internet access to some five billion people across the globe. Onavo will continue offering its apps after the deal and maintain its office in Tel Aviv. As the city is quickly becoming a new hotbed for startup companies, Facebook plans to move into the Onavo offices and use it as its first Israeli headquarters.
“We are excited to announce that Facebook has agreed to acquire our company,” wrote Guy Rosen, Co-Founder/CEO and Roi Tiger, Co-Founder/CTO in a blog post. “We’re excited to join their team, and hope to play a critical role in reaching one of Internet.org’s most significant goals – using data more efficiently, so that more people around the world can connect and share.”
Interestingly, the co-founders reiterate their commitment to customer privacy and say this commitment will not change.
Facebook also says it is excited about the acquisition, saying Onavo will “play a central role in our mission to connect more people to the Internet.”
Facebook, as a social network, could use Onavo to both improve its mobile apps by analyzing submitted user data, as well as use its data compression technology to trim down how much data is used to deliver likes, photos and wall posts to users’ mobile devices. Where Onavo could really be useful, however, is in Zuckerberg’s vision to connect the billions of people all over the world who have yet to enjoy Internet access.
Facebook, in addition to Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung, started Internet.org and announced their intentions in August. Delivering the Internet to billions of people in far-off rural areas will be quite difficult, but as Zuckerberg explained in an introductory blog post, they believe they can achieve their goals if they pare down the amount of data transmitted by mobile services and work to make mobile broadband services even cheaper.
The first blog post by Zuckerberg was more philosophical than technological, offering reasons for why the coalition sought to bring the world together via mobile Internet.
A few weeks later Facebook offered up several white pages, which explained how it is able to compress data while handling requests from its one billion users. According to the 70-page document, Facebook users share 4.75 billion items a day, click the like button 4.5 billion times and share pictures 10 million times daily. Not only are the company’s servers and backend technology capable of handling such a load, they’re also able to do it in an efficient manner. The network's latest acquisition should only help it in its attempts to run a lean social network.