Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer announced the acquisition of startup Aviate at the Consumer Electronics Show yesterday, reports Anthony Ha for TechCrunch. Aviate, which has just six employees, has developed a smart homepage that makes your most relevant apps readily available throughout the day.
Aviate the latest of Mayer’s many acquisitions
No word on how much spent on Aviate (compared to some of Yahoo’s other purchases since Mayer became CEO, it probably wasn’t that much), but this fits with Mayer’s pattern of expansion through acquisition, having bought 24 companies in 2013 and begun talks with image sharing site Imgur. Many have commented on the pace of acquisitions under Mayer’s management, and there’s no denying the company is rebuilding its brand after years of being seen as an internet has-been.
“The average person has screens and screens of apps on their mobile phones, with only a handful of those being used daily. Yet we spend our time swiping from screen to screen, hunting, loading, seeking information,” Yahoo’s senior VP of mobile and emerging products Adam Cahan wrote in a recent blog post. “We envision homescreens becoming smarter, more personalized, aware of your context. Aviate helps us bring this vision to life.”
Aviate currently in beta, only available on Android
Aviate is still in beta and is currently only available on Android, but the biggest draw probably isn’t the app itself so much as the team behind it. Mayer has worked hard to make Yahoo (both its apps and online homepage) to be more personalized and the Aviate team has successfully imagined a different approach to the whole problem. Using a combination of wi-fi networks, GPS, time of day, the accelerometer and other signals, the app learns which apps you are most likely to use and presents them to you first. This automated, intelligent categorization is clearly what attracted Yahoo’s attention.
Cahan said that Aviate will become a central part of the Android-based Yahoo app, but there were already plans to make Aviate available on Apple’s iOS and there’s no reason to expect them to be dropped. It’s more likely that Yahoo just didn’t want to set a specific timetable for when the adaptive homepage would be available to iPhone and iPad users until it has brought the Aviate team onboard and finished developing the existing product.