Why Did Facebook Buy Glancee?

By Julie D. Andrews 

The social rumor mill is abuzz with predictions on what Facebook plans to do with the newest member of its family, Glancee — especially since this mobile acquisition has brainpower to boot in areas where the social network has failed in the past.

What Facebook was after when it made the purchase was the technology and the talent that built the mobile social app in the emerging ambient location category, according to ReadWriteWeb.

Facebook Places, the social network’s arrow pointed at competing with Foursquare, bombed, phased out one year after its August-2010 unveiling.

Facebook later bought check-in application Gowalla with little fanfare.

Now, it may be playing for keeps.

That’s because check-ins are not required on Glancee — a habit Facebookers just weren’t willing to form. Plus, the nature of the data Glancee scans differs in that it focuses on the people, and not the places, capturing the core of social networking. It’s the people, Sirs. Users want to track the people.

How does Glancee locate intel? By trolling none other than Facebook and Twitter to see what people liked and what topics they’ve frequently posted about.

It also has a time-based diary — for those who know who they want to hobnob with, and who want to know what hotspots their like-to-meets frequent, and when.

Could Facebook put the newly acquired location smarties and their technology to work building a new tool, experimenting with how to bring the social network game to mobile? Anything’s possible — and that prospect seems rather likely.

Do you agree that Facebook’s move to buy Glancee was motivated more by purchasing the whizzes behind it than ousting a potential future competitor?