As an effort to improve the search experience, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) acquired a location discovery app called Zofari. This unique app uses machine learning, natural language processing, and data from third-party sources to obtain information for recommending places the user might enjoy visiting.
Yahoo’s latest acquisition
Official financial details regarding Yahoo’s latest acquisition have yet to be disclosed. A recent blog post on Zofari’s official website mentioned company employees Nate Weinstein Jason Kobilka, Oliver Su, and Shahad Aziz will join Yahoo’s team. The note added that after the company met up with Yahoo’s search team, it was easy for Zofari to join the Yahoo team.
Right now, the Zofari app for iOS and Android will remain active. Zofari initially launched in 2012 with the help of NYC hedge fund analyst Adam Weitzman. Last year, the company also raised $150,000 from friends and family.
Yahoo’s focus on mobile apps
It’s not surprising Yahoo has a keen interest in Zofari, especially considering mobile services are a key part of CEO Marissa Mayer’s turnaround plan. Over the past years, the search giant purchased about 30 mobile companies including Blink, Wander, SPARQ, LookFlow, HitPost, IQ Engines, Snip.it, Qwiki, Ptch, Admovate, Astrid, and more. Since Yahoo’s core business is all on search, it’s likely to be a smart move it acquired a team that focuses on local search.
At press time, there is no word on how Yahoo will utilize Zofari and make it a strong competitor against popular local search app Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP). Foursquare recently made some key changes to it’s once popular app by shifting it’s focus to recommending restaurants and local businesses. It also spun off Swarm, a social check-in based app that is essentially what Foursquare used to be. Some faithful Foursquare users are not exactly pleased with these changes. Whether the company can effectively compete with Yelp remains to be seen.