Yahoo purchases Alike to make good on mobile promise

Steven Loeb · February 12, 2013 · Short URL:

Alike is location discovery app that can compete with Facebook Nearby and Google+Local

After its Q3 earnings report in October, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said that mobile was not “only a daily habit, but a fundamental platform shift. A platform shift we have to ride and participate in order to be relevant.” In other words: the company was going to be making a big effort to get into mobile.

Yahoo took a step toward making that happen with the purchase of location discovery app Alike, which was announced by the team at Alike on its blog Tuesday.

"We’ve always been passionate about the growing power of intelligent mobile experiences. We believe that distilled information, deeply personalized and made accessible anytime and anywhere, is what makes mobile experiences a part of our customers’ daily lives," Alike wrote.

"In Yahoo! we've found a team as excited about this vision as we are, and who are serious about making it real. We're super excited to join Yahoo!'s mobile team, where we can march toward that vision faster than ever."

Alike also revealed that it will no longer be supporting its Alike Nearby app for iPhone and Web.

"Yahoo! has acquired mobile startup Alike. The Alike team created an app that focuses on personalization -- using the restaurants and places you like to find the ones you’ll love. We were very impressed by the team and their approach to building personalized experiences. The entire Alike team will join Yahoo!’s mobile organization in San Francisco and Sunnyvale," a Yahoo spokesperson told VatorNews.

No terms of the deal have been disclosed.

Bellevue, Washington-based Alike was founded in 2011. If a user entered the name of a place they liked into the Alike app, it would look through it database of 20 Million places, and hundreds of terabytes of meta data, to find a new place that it felt that user would also enjoy..

The acquisition seems like a good step toward Yahoo being able to compete with other big name properties like Facebook and Google, both of which have been ramping up efforts to give users a similar feature. Facebook has its Find Nearby feature, while Google has Google+Local.

In October, Mayer said that, while Yahoo had “made progress” on the mobile front, the company was behind because it had no effectively optimized the site for mobile, had under invested in mobile development, and had splintered the brand into 76 applications across Android and iOS.

“All of this needs to change. Our top priority is a focused, coherent mobile strategy," she said.

So far, Yahoo has been making good on this promise to focus on its mobile strategy.

In December, Yahoo updated its Flickr app with high resolution filters that users can apply after they have taken the photo/ Additionally, the new Flickr app lets them share the photos on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and email. They can also upload multiple photos from their camera roll to the Flickr site and tag people and add locations from Foursquare.

The updated app also added a new Explore tab that allows users to browse other users’ photos and check out details like how the photo was taken, what groups and sets it belongs to, and who is tagged.

Yahoo's recent purchases

Yahoo this is the third acquisition by Yahoo since Marissa Mayer took over in July 2012.

In October, Yahoo acquired Stamped, the Justin Bieber-backed mobile app that lets users “stamp” and share their favorite restaurants, movies, books, music, and more.  

Then, in December, Yahoo acqui-hired the team from OnTheAir, a video chat service that can be used for casual hangouts or to organize largish webinars, due to users’ ability to moderate speakers and converse with participants via a split screen.  Audience members can “call in,” or they can chat with one another.  Yahoo claims that it has no plans to use the technology though.

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Alike, Inc.


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alike enables you to use the places you like to find new places you’ll love.

Keywords suck.  First, they are too simplistic.  When you search for a coffee shop a keyword based engine won’t know if you wanted the best java in town or a nearby place to crank out some emails.  Second, they are too vague.  Google returns 12,938 results for coffee shops in San Francisco.  And finally, they are generic – with rankings based on popularity/SEO rather than relevance. None of the current options let you organize results to find what you really want.

The alike engine takes search beyond the keyword to solve this problem.  Using alike anyone can simply enter the name of something they enjoy, alike will identify this ‘entity’, and then alike will provide the user with similar ‘entities’ that they will love.

The alike search engine has developed a semantic understanding of many different entities (places, products, people) and their attributes (locations, cost, reviews, preferences).   



Marissa Mayer

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