Yandex buys Tel Aviv’s KitLocate for low-power location service technology

The Russian web giant Yandex has bought an Israeli geolocation firm called KitLocate for its energy-saving location technology.

While services like mapping and navigation require a mobile device to constantly check in with GPS satellites, location-based recommendation services for example do not. KitLocate provides a software development kit full of location capabilities for apps – geo-fencing, motion detection and “social location” – that request the user’s coordinates less frequently, saving on power consumption.

Yandex will use these capabilities, which apparently use less than 1 percent of the device’s battery per hour when active, in its own location-based mobile search app and other services, a company spokesman told me. It will also offer the SDK to other developers.

The deal, worth “several million euros”, also gives Yandex an office in Israel’s “Silicon Wadi”, specifically Tel Aviv. The spokesman told me KitLocate comes with 8 staffers, and Yandex will hire more engineers and mobile quality assurance workers for the office.

Essentially, the team will work on all Yandex’s location-based mobile efforts that don’t require constant geo-tracking.