Facebook purchased another company — this time tapping into the increasingly lucrative health technology market — on Thursday. The internet giant now owns ProtoGeo Oy, a Finnish company responsible for the creation of the Moves app. Moves automatically tracks distances walked, ran, and/or cycled.
“In addition to the automated activity tracking, users can also manually enter data, and Moves says it supports more than 60 predefined activity types,” Apple Insider explained. “The app also acts as a pedometer and can plot a user’s daily movements on a map for later analysis.”
Facebook did not disclose how much it paid for the app; representatives did say it was “only a fraction” of what it paid for “mobile messaging firm WhatsApp and virtual headset maker Oculus,” according to BBC News. Users have downloaded the application 4 million times since its launch in 2013.
Facebook is confident in the free app. “The Moves team has built an incredible tool for the millions of people who want to better understand their daily fitness activity, and we’re looking forward to the app continuing to gain momentum,” Facebook said in a statement. The official Moves site adds that the application will continue to operate separately — without integrating data with Facebook.
Other big-name companies are similarly cashing in on the health technology market. A line of wearable health and fitness tracking technology is in the works at Google, and many believe Apple is preparing to launch a fitness smartwatch. BBC suggests Facebook will use the free app to better track users’ interest and create more relevant ads.
“For them it’s a good move, because it helps them to entrench themselves further into your life, which is ultimately their goal,” explains Jeremy Simpson, Director of Search Marketing at Suburban Marketing. “They want their platform to be the go-to for everything you do.”