Yandex announced this morning that it has acquired Israeli startup KitLocate. According to third-party sources, the deal was worth “several million euros.” Yandex will gain and maintain a presence in Tel Aviv though the acquisition.
The chief virtue of KitLocate is that it can provide location to apps without using much power unlike GPS or triangulation, which can drain mobile batteries. KitLocate also has both iOS and Android SDKs. There’s also a “social location” capability that can detect and notify app users when they’re in proximity to one another.
Yandex will incorporate KitLocate’s capabilities into its own mobile apps. But it will also offer them to third parties, through its recently launched suite of Android OS mobile services Yandex.kit:
Yandex.Kit is a customisable suite of mobile components available for most versions of Android OS. It has all the basics indispensable for the up-to-date mobile experience. Vendors selling their original Android devices in Russia can enjoy the full Yandex.Kit package, which currently includes an app store, launcher and dialer, browser, maps, a cloud app – 15 apps overall. OEMs targeting other markets can enjoy Yandex.Kit as a trio of Yandex products – Yandex.Shell UI, Yandex.Browser and Yandex.Store.
With Yandex.kit the company has pulled an Amazon and built its own software on top of open-source Android for OEMs seeking an alternative to Google and Google mobile services. KitLocate complements that offering by providing a valuable low-power way to deliver geo-location and location-based relevance to apps.
Yandex also said in an email this morning that KitLocate will continue to be offered to developers through the company’s SDKs as a stand-alone product.