Though Yahoo may have wanted to buy Foursquare, the company has found another way to hook into the world of location-based social networking.
Yahoo announced Tuesday that it has bought Koprol, a social network for mobile users. Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, Koprol lets people make friends, share photos, and find popular nearby locations all on the go. The news comes a day after Yahoo and Nokia extended their 5-year-old partnership with an eye toward the rising interest in geo-location offerings, pledging to bring Nokia's Navteq mapping service to Yahoo, and Yahoo's e-mail and instant-messaging technology to Nokia's Ovi service.
Accessing Koprol from your mobile device, you can see what your friends are doing and where they're hanging out. You can find neighborhood restaurants, stores, and other businesses and then rate your favorites or not-so-favorites. You can also start discussions and then invite others to join in on the conversation. Based on all this feedback, Koprol can develop a pretty comprehensive database of local activities and resources. And that's what attracted Koprol's new owner.
Yahoo said it plans to use Koprol's community-based information to make its own home page and other sites and services more relevant to local and mobile users. Though Koprol is currently specific to Indonesia, Yahoo said it plans to expand the service to other parts of the world.
"Users are increasingly relying on mobile devices to communicate and access the Internet and they are looking for seamless integration between those devices and PCs. This is especially true in many emerging markets where we are introducing the Yahoo brand to many new-to-Net users," said Rose Tsou, senior vice president, Asia Region at Yahoo.
Yahoo said it will enhance Koprol's service, including a new application for the BlackBerry, and expects to unveil apps for other mobile devices down the road. On its end, the Koprol team said it will continue business as usual but will likely roll out new features faster than expected with Yahoo's support and backing. Beyond more mobile apps, a couple of the new developments in store include an Indonesian language version and accounts for business users.
Eyeing the latest trend of location-based social networks for mobile users, Yahoo's CEO Carol Bartz has been itching to buy a business to take advantage of that market. The company was angling to pick up Foursquare, but that deal seems stuck in neutral at this point.
The price tag and other financial details of the Koprol purchase were not disclosed.
Below, Yahoo talks with Koprol's founders about the service: