Facebook seems keen on telling the world that it is more than just the world's biggest social network - it is a fitness tracker and a digital newswire as well.
Facebook made two significant developments Thursday by acquiring ProtoGeo Oy, a Helsinki-based fitness app manufacturer and maker of Moves app, and launching FB Newswire, a Facebook page of journalist-selected and verified news stories that aims to be the preferred real-time resource of news for journalists.
Moves is a free mobile app for iOS and Android devices that can automatically track a user's activities, including walking, jogging and bicycling. It can also determine if the phone's user is in public transit and around 50 other activities. The app can also track places the user has visited and draw up a map showing how the user was able to get to where he is.
Facebook is not exactly known for putting its users' privacy on top of its priority list, and an app that tracks a user's location acquired by Facebook can raise major privacy issues. ProtoGeo, however, came out on its blog saying Facebook will have nothing to do with the data acquired by Moves, at least for the time being.
"For those of you that use the Moves app - the Moves experience will continue to operate as a standalone app, and there are no plans to change that or comingle data with Facebook," wrote a Moves representative on the app blog.
Both Facebook and Moves did not release details about the acquisition, but a Facebook spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal that the figures are nowhere near Facebook's recent acquisitions. In February, Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion and Oculus VR for $2 billion the following month.
Moves was launched in January last year and has become a favorite on Apple's App Store. More than a million users currently use Moves.
Meanwhile, Facebook's media partnerships arm was also busy striking a deal with Storyful, a news verification service that aggregates and verifies news shared on social networks. Storyful is owned by News Corp, which bought the company in December for $25 million.
The aim of FB Newswire is to highlight news posted by media outlets as well as private individuals on Facebook, targeting journalists but also welcoming other users to embed the stories on their individual news feeds.
Journalists can simply Like the FBNewswire page to subscribe to a listing of news stories gathered from around the world.
"FB Newswire aggregates newsworthy content shared by publicly on Facebook by individuals and organizations across the world for journalists to use in their reporting. This will include original photos, videos and status updates by people on the front lines of major events like protests, elections and sporting events," said Andy Mitchell, Facebook director for news and global media partnerships.
Ironically, while FBNewswire seems like a good move to help Facebook catch up to Twitter in the race to become the primary source of social news, Mitchell announced that journalists can also follow @FBNewswire on Twitter.