Yahoo continues acquisition spree, scoops up mobile news app Summly
Yahoo has acquired Summly, a London-based mobile software startup promising consumers more efficient access to online news content. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The free Summly app, launched for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS late last year, leveraged an algorithm built with Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence technologies to analyze text and automatically summarize relevant news stories based on topics, keywords and media sources selected by the user. Users have read more than 90 million summaries in the months since Summly went live; Summly founder Nick D'Aloisio is still just 17 years old, and the company has raised more than $1.5 million from investors including Horizons Ventures.
Yahoo has already removed Summly from Apple's App Store. "You will see the [Summly] technology come to life throughout Yahoo's mobile experiences soon," stated Senior Vice President of Mobile and Emerging Products Adam Cahan on the Official Yahoo Blog.
The Summly deal follows just days after Yahoo purchased and shut down personalized mobile recommendation engine Jybe, which offered users tips on local events, restaurants and movies based on their personal interests as well as subjects trending within their social circle. Former Yahoo Search Technology Vice President Arnab Bhattacharjee launched the startup in 2011 partnership with other erstwhile members of Yahoo's Search and Hadoop teams.
In the months since ex-Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) executive Marissa Mayer took over as CEO, Yahoo also has acquired startups Alike, Stamped, Snip.it and OnTheAir. Speaking at February's Goldman Sachs' Technology and Internet conference, Mayer said Yahoo plans to refocus on a dozen or so apps that people access frequently, rather than a large number of apps that might not get much use. At present, the company counts 200 million mobile monthly active users spread across 60 to 75 different applications, but Mayer said consumers would ideally make use of two to four signature Yahoo mobile apps.
Mayer is looking to mobile to rekindle growth in Yahoo's userbase. "I think the opportunity for growth (in mobile) is very fundamentally one of the things that drew me to Yahoo," she said, according to The Wall Street Journal. "When you think about mobile... When you see triple-digit growth in some areas, there's a big opportunity for growth. Yahoo has the content that people want on their phone."
- read this Official Yahoo Blog entry
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