Yandex buys power-saving mobile geolocation firm KitLocate

kitlocate-webrazziRussian internet technology company Yandex forges ahead to expand the geography and sphere of its existing services, understandably with a focus on mobile. The Russian giant announced today that it had acquired Israeli KitLocate which develops low-power mobile location technologies. Its full team has now joined the staff of Yandex. The price of the deal has not yet been disclosed.

The Israeli startup caters to the mobile industry, which is increasingly in need of new technologies to help with better power management, given devices are now full of new energy-sucking features and apps. For example, with almost all the apps using location information detected through the device, extending battery life becomes more crucial in offering comfortable daily mobile usage.

KitLocate has developed a neat solution by cutting off the GPS feeds at times when user’s movements are not essential. The cut-off decision is based on statistical analysis and allows location-based apps to less frequently request the device’s geographic coordinates via GPS or GLONASS, a very power-draining process. It offers a software development kit for iOS and Android developers, allowing them to integrate power-saving capabilities into their apps for those using geo-fencing, motion detection and social location. The SDK will stay live after the acquisition.

Founded in late 2011, KitLocate’s low-power location solutions are now used in several applications, such as finding parking spaces and payment services. Yandex opened new offices in Berlin last month to speed up work on expanding its mobile maps and location services to wider Europe. It aims to integrate and deploy KitLocate’s technology and expertise in its own services, including the personalisation of mobile search and targeted advertising, and grow further on an international scale.

With the acquisition, which is said to be worth around $2 million, Yandex will now have an office in Tel Aviv and will presumably expand the team of 8 further with the addition of new Israeli engineers.

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