We now have more details on Facebook’s plans to acquire Bangalore-based Little Eye Labs, an Indian startup whose primary product is a software tool for analyzing Android apps’ performance. Multiple sources have told us that the two companies exchanged the term sheets few weeks ago, and that a final announcement could be made by mid-January. The deal size is expected to be in the range of $10-15 million.
Overall, the Little Eye Labs acquisition fits right into in Facebook’s mobile ambitions, an area where it has lagged rivals like Twitter, despite having some 874 million of its 1.19 billion-strong (September figures) user base logged on via mobile devices. And Facebook has been on the lookout for startups that could potentially help it gain a greater foothold on mobile devices.
As part of its aggressive mobile strategy, Facebook acquired Parse, a mobile-backend-as-a-service startup in April of this year.
A Facebook acquisition of Little Eye Labs would mean a lot for an Indian startup that’s less than one-and-a-half years old, and it would mean much more for the Indian startup ecosystem as a whole, where acquisitions of this profile have been tough to come by. While exploring potential acquirers, Little Eye Labs also pitched to Twitter, but Facebook seemed to offer a better deal, another source added.
One of the sources who shared some details about this proposed acquisition said that if the deal closes, most of the Little Eye Labs’ founding team will move to Facebook’s U.S. headquarters, and work there as part of the mobile engineering team.
Little Eye Labs caught the attention of potential acquirer(s) in Seedcamp, London, where the startup was refining its product along with 20 other companies. Gaurav Lochan, who joined Little Eye labs from India’s largest e-commerce company, Flipkart, earlier this year, had this to say about using the startup’s tool for fixing a bug in Google’s official I/Q app at the event. Flipkart, was also the first customer for Little Eye Labs.
Kumar Rangarajan, co-founder of Little Eye labs, had even acknowledged that the company was in discussions with Facebook earlier this month, after reports of the acquisition first surfaced. However, Rangarajan could not be reached at the time of publication. A Facebook spokesperson, who had earlier declined to offer any comments, has also not responded.
The Little Eye founders — Kumar Rangarajan, Satyam Kandula, Lakshman Kakkirala and Giridhar Murthy, all worked together previously at IBM. They started Little Eye Labs in August 2012 and were part of the GSF Accelerator’s batch from October to December of the same year. In March of this year, the startup raised seed funding of around $300,000 from GSF and Venture East.
A Little Eye Labs acquisition would not be the hugest deal for Facebook, especially when compared with its $85 million acquisition of Parse. But it would be an important enough piece in the social network’s overall mobile strategy. I know of several Indian startups working in the mobile space who hope acquisitions like these will raise the profile of the ecosystem.
When Apple released its iPhone in January 2007, it changed smartphones forever. Competitors who were able to adapt to the new normal, like Samsung, have thrived, while others who moved too slow, like BlackBerry and Nokia, have had a tougher time.
Google, owner and operator of the Android platform, was one of the first to recognize just how important the iPhone was, a new book reveals. Google engineer Chris DeSalvo says as soon as Steve Jobs revealed the iPhone to the world, he knew the Android team would need to “start over,” according to Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein, which was excerpted in The Atlantic. Read more…
Spain’s privacy watchdog hit Google with a $1.2 million fine for breaking the country’s data protection laws and “seriously infringe citizens’ rights.”
The Data Protection Agency found Google guilty of three separate violations for collecting information about its users in Spain sharing that data across its services, like search and Google Drive; and not properly informing them of collection practices. Each violation resulted in a fine of 300,000 euros, around $400,000.
Google “doesn’t give users enough information about which data it collects, for what purpose it uses the data, it combines data obtained through different services, and it keeps it for an undefined amount of time,” the agency said in a statement. Read more…
Governments around the world are trying to censor more online content than ever, according to Google‘s latest transparency report on government takedown requests.
When compared to its last report, Google received 68% more requests to remove content in the first half of 2013. In total, the company received 3,846 requests to remove 24,737 pieces of content, but the company only accepted one-third of those requests.
For the first time, Turkey takes the top spot as the country with more requests to remove content, with 1,673. The United States follows with 545, and Brazil is third with 321. Read more…
Few Internet explorers are strangers to the pleasure of discovering a new landscape in Google Street View. However, unearthing true beauty in the massive database is an art.
“I wanted to start a nature blog and began experimenting with using Street View. It gave me the freedom to compose my own shots of the world, instead of posting other peoples,” Pachner wrote to Mashable in an email. “I’ve always wanted to travel but at the moment I can’t afford to, and so I guess in a way I’m using this medium instead.” Read more…
Last week, Google, Microsoft and five other leading Web companies formally requested that the U.S. government rein in its use of dragnet surveillance. These companies don’t have to wait for the government to act, though. Encryption technology can protect the privacy of innocent users from indiscriminate surveillance, but only if tech companies deploy it. In the wake of the Snowden disclosures, they are starting to do so. It shouldn’t have taken them this long.
In October 2010, security researcher Eric Butler released an easy-to-use tool designed to hack into the webmail accounts of people using public Wi-Fi networks. Butler’s Firesheep wasn’t the first technology to make Wi-Fi sniffing possible, but it made it easy to intercept emails and documents, and even to capture authentication cookies that could be used at a later time to log in to a victim’s account. Read more…
An optical company in the Midwest introduced a prescription glasses add-on for Google Glass on Tuesday.
“We’re proud to be the first optical company in the world to unveil this new technology, and we look forward to optimizing the Google Glass experience,” Indiana-based Longe Optical says on its website.
“As an optical company and eyeglass wearers ourselves, we have a pretty high level of empathy for those who need eyeglasses, and just haven’t been able to utilize Glass the way it is intended,” Jeff Ostermann, president of Longe Optical, told Mashable. Read more…
If you were a founder in any industry where Google just snapped up eight of your competitors, and you wanted to remain in that business, you might expect to feel a little nervous. Not Colin Angle
Angle (pictured above) is the founder and CEO of iRobot, the company that makes the Roomba autonomous vacuum cleaner, its cousin the Scoomba, and many more besides. And he is so far beyond thrilled that Google is showing such an interest in the market, he’s actively rooting for the big guys
See also: The K5 Robot: A Roomba for Crime
“Google is attempting to do something meaningful,” Angle told Mashable while driving through a snowstorm near his headquarters in Bedford, Mass. “The robot industry has suffered from a lack of great, ambitious, fully funded attempts at creating a real business as opposed to interesting demos.” Read more…
sfcrazy writes “Apart from being involved in open source through software, Google promotes the open source model through its various media channels and participation in open source events across the globe. One such initiative has been their affiliation with the Open Invention Network patent pool (OIN). ‘Linux now powers nearly all the world’s supercomputers, runs the International Space Station, and forms the core of Android. But as open source has proliferated, so have the threats against it, particularly using patents. That’s why we’re expanding our participation in Open Invention Network, becoming the organization’s first new full board member since 2007.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
It takes just one muscle, the orbicularis oculi, to wink — but not everyone can do it. I’ve recently learned, for instance, that my wink is more of a blink. This matters now that I’m using the latest creepy-but-cool experimental feature on Google Glass: Wink to take a picture.
Google Glass, still something of an experiment (you need an invite to get a $1,500 device), is the wearable heads-up display technology that connects you to the Internet and your smartphone. A glance up can bring you news, weather and tweets, and grants access to an ever-growing list of features and apps. (Mashable has a Glass app, too.) Read more…