Facebook buys Glancee in another mobile play

Facebook confirmed on Friday night that it has purchased Glancee, a mobile app that uses your location and Facebook login to connect you with like-minded individuals who happen to be near you in real life. Details of the deal were undisclosed but it looks like Glancee will be shutting down and some or all of the team will be joining Facebook — and they will be working on location-related features for the giant social network. Facebook confirmed the deal in a written statement:

We are thrilled to confirm that Facebook has acquired Glancee. The acquisition closed today. We can’t wait for co-founders Andrea, Alberto, and Gabriel (Chief Executive Officer Andrea Vaccari, Chief Operating Officer Alberto Tretti, and Chief Technology Officer Gabriel Grise) to join the Facebook team to work on products that help people discover new places and share them with friends.

On the heels of Facebook’s $1 billion buy of Instagram, this deal likely isn’t in the same league financially, but some view it as another indication that Facebook needs to ramp up its mobile experience. Ahead of its initial public offering, Facebook watchers seem obsessed with two primary stories: the glut of money that some people stand to make, and Facebook’s lack of competitiveness in the mobile arena.

Glancee does have some cool elements, and the promise of being able to connect my virtual Facebook life with my physical one using the Glancee app is certainly compelling. However, unlike its Instagram buy, where the service is staying up and running, Glancee is getting shut down. How much of what it does gets incorporated into new location features that Facebook might be working on remains to be seen.

Instagram had the benefit of not just being a cool photo-sharing app, but a viable mobile social network all on its own — and a fairly massive user base — whereas Glancee seems to be a mere tool. And so like other tools Facebook has purchased (hey remember Hot Potato or the April purchase of Tagtile?) Glancee may turn up later as a cool recommendation feature. Or not.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock/Thomas Pajot & Zuckerberg: Jason McELweenie/Flickr