TechCrunch broke the news today: Nokia has acquired Berlin-based Plazes for an undisclosed amount. The service – founded by Felix Petersen – allows its users to track the places, activities and people in their lives. Sounds like Twitter and Jaiku right? But it isn’t completely the same, as the location is Plazes core feature. You don’t have to mention you’re in Berlin, it shows up in a Google map. Updates can be send by SMS or a mobile app (soon also on the iPhone).
There’s one other important difference though, while Twitter is U.S.-based and Finnish Jaiku was sucked up by Google, Plazes however, will remain European. Their first financial backing came from European private equity firm Doughty Hanson, which invested €2.7 million. The second round of funding DOES have an American touch to it, as Plazes received €1 million in total from Marc Andreessen (US), Esther Dyson (US), and Martin Varsavsky (Argentina). But that’s all there is. Plazes will stay in Berlin and remain member of the European tech family. And that is good for Europe. Just so you know, Loic Le Meur feels the same about it.
So what will happen next? Most likely, Plazes will become a standard Nokia app – installed on all its phones. Here’s what Felix himself (or his ghost blogger) writes:
The team is very excited to be able to further develop the Plazes service that is online today together with Nokia. If all goes well, in the near future plazes will be made available to millions of Nokia customers both online and on millions of mobile devices.
I hope geo localization is ready for its big break-through.
Wanna know how the Plazes office and Felix’ home looks like? Check the MTV Cribs-like video we shot in January.