Facebook has hired the small team behind Spool, a social bookmarking service that makes web content available for offline viewing on mobile devices, the company confirmed this weekend.
According to All Things D, this was not a traditional acquisition but a so-called “acqui-hire” of about five employees. This means Facebook bought the company for its talent rather than its technology, though what Spool was doing was quite useful. With a browser extension, users could save content to read, watch or listen to later. Spool would find the most relevant parts of a website to save, eliminating ads, headers and other aspects of a page that weren’t necessary for mobile viewing. It also converted Flash video into formats that would play on any device. All of the content users saved could be viewed on a phone or tablet, even without an Internet connection. Recently, the app added an option for users to send content to their friends.
Spool announced the Facebook news on its blog, along with an explanation that the service would shut down and instructions on how to import Spool bookmarks into another service. Facebook shared the following statement with the press:
“The Spool team has deep expertise in mobile software development and a passion for making content easy to consume. We’re excited for the team to join and accelerate their vision at Facebook.”
Spool, which debuted at TechCrunch Disrupt in September, raised $1 million in January. It is led by Avichal Garg, who previously co-founded PrepMe, a web-based adaptive learning and testing engine that was acquired in 2011. Garg also worked as a product manager at Google between 2005 and 2007.