Facebook buys mobile discovery startup Glancee

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SAN FRANCISCO — Mere weeks from a multi-billion-dollar debut on the stock market, Facebook has ramped up its focus on mobile lifestyles with the purchase of “social discovery” startup Glancee.

Screencap from Glancee.com

Glancee founders behind the smartphone application for finding like-minded people nearby joined the Facebook team in what was seen as a talent grab by the Menlo Park, California-based social network.

“We started Glancee in 2010 with the goal of bringing together the best of your physical and digital worlds,” said a message at the San Francisco startup’s website.

“We wanted to make it easy to discover the hidden connections around you, and to meet interesting people,” Glancee added.

“We are therefore very excited to announce that Facebook has acquired Glancee and that we have joined the team in Menlo Park to build great products for over 900 million Facebook users.”

The Glancee application was removed from Apple’s online App Store over the weekend after Facebook revealed the acquisition on Friday.

Facebook has made a priority of following its users onto smartphones at the heart of Digital Age lifestyles even though the social network has yet to make clear how it plans to make money doing so.

The financial terms of the Glancee purchase were not disclosed but were believed to be far less than the billion dollars Facebook recently spent on the startup behind photo-sharing smartphone application Instagram.

Glancee software ran in the background on smartphones, using Facebook and other online resources to match people based on similar tastes or interests and then alerting users to when kindred spirits were in the vicinity.

Facebook executives are on an investors “road show” this week, an intense marketing drive ahead of the company’s expected trading launch on the tech-heavy Nasdaq on May 18.

For small investors, the California firm has produced a slick half-hour video set to music that explains the mission, products, finances and future of the company, with chief executive Mark Zuckerberg doing the narration himself.

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last week, Facebook set a price range of $28 to $35 for its shares, which would value the firm at between $70 billion and $87.5 billion.

Based on the estimated market value, Facebook would rank behind Amazon and Cisco, each worth over $100 billion, but ahead of Hewlett-Packard ($48 billion) and struggling Yahoo! ($19 billion).

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