Nokia Acquires Social Networking Firm Plazes; Transforms Into Information Company

Mobile phone manufacturer Nokia has agreed to purchase the privately owned German startup, Plazes for an undisclosed sum; the Finnish company expects to integrate Plazes's functionality into its Nokia's Services & Software Division.

The acquisition will help Nokia to "accelerate its vision of bringing people and places closer together, in line with our broader services strategy".

Plazes provide users with the ability to track other users whereabouts as a socially acceptable activity by planning, recording and sharing their social activities with particular emphasis on location.

It is not impossible that Nokia could use Plazes as a way to complement its other services like Ovi music store, its GPS services - from Navteq which Nokia bought for USD 8.1 billion - or its Nokia maps - which it acquired for USD 250 million back in 2006.

Earlier last month, Vodafone acquired ZYB, a mobile social network company, for USD 31.5 million, hinting at a possible fragmentation of the mobile social network market, especially since Myspace or Facebook could still announce location or context aware versions of their services.