Mobile Messaging Startup Blink Shut Down After Yahoo Acquires It
May 14, 2014

Mobile Messaging Startup Blink Shut Down After Yahoo Acquires It

Peter Suciu for - Your Universe Online

Blink once and you might have missed the recent transaction between Yahoo and mobile messaging startup Blink. Yahoo Inc. bought the app maker, which developed technology that allows users to send messages that self-destruct at a time set by the sender, and has announced that its talent pool will now move over to the Yahoo team.

It will also mean the end of the line for the Blink app.

"We built Blink because we believe everyone should be free to show the same honesty and spontaneity in their online conversations as they can in person. We look forward to the possibilities that will come from bringing the Blink vision to Yahoo," Kevin (Stephens), Michelle (Norgan), and the Blink Team posted on the official Blink blog on Tuesday. "What does this mean for you as a Blink user? In the next few weeks, we will be shutting down Blink for both Android and iOS."

Blink's app allowed users to send text messages, pictures and even audio files that would "self-destruct" after a set time -- making it similar to technology on the popular messaging service Snapchat. Messages sent by the Blink app could only be viewed within a set timeframe before being deleted.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

The move to Yahoo is notable in that both Kevin Stephens and Michelle Norgan came from Google, before founding Meh Labs, which is best known for its location-sharing app Kismet, reported Reuters. Blink was then launched in April 2013.

Yahoo has not publicly responded to provide any details about the purchase, except to confirm that the team will be moving in-house.

"I can confirm that the entire team behind Blink and Kismet will be joining our mobile team in Sunnyvale where they will focus on smart communication products" a Yahoo spokeswoman told Tech Hive on Tuesday.

Blink is just the latest company to be acquired by Yahoo -- and is part of a larger trend of tech giants often acquiring start-ups as much for the talent pool as for the apps and other technology these firms are developing.

Since the arrival of Marissa Mayer as CEO at Yahoo in 2012, the company has made some 40 acquisitions, including several small but notable mobile start-ups. Mobile messaging apps have been in the sights of Yahoo, as well as its rivals at Google and Facebook, as it provides a reach into mobile devices including those used in emerging markets.

Facebook acquired mobile messaging app WhatsApp in February for $16 billion. The deal was approved by the FTC last month, but the agency warned that it would be watching for privacy violations.

Blink is also not the only company that has developed technology that could make messages disappear. Snapchat, which also allows users to send messages that automatically delete themselves after a time,  received a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook last fall - an offer its founders turned down.

How self-destructing these messages are also remains a point of contention.

Last week, Snapchat reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission following a federal complaint alleging that the popular photo messaging service made false promises that photos were being deleted in a timely manner. The FTC complaint alleged that the issue was not in line with what was outlined in the company’s user agreement.