AOL (NYSE: AOL) is buying Rally Up, a startup behind a social networking app for the iPhone and iPad that lets users share their locations with select friends. The app pitches itself as a social network for “people that actually should know your location,” such as family members and close friends. Users can direct message each other and “check-in” to locations. So, why is AOL buying the startup? AOL says the deal is part of its new approach to the mobile market.
From the announcement: “For the first time, AOL mobile applications will consist not only of mobile versions of its popular desktop and web offerings, but also will include all-new products that launch first on mobile devices.” The announcement of the new strategy comes two months after AOL hired Palm (NSDQ: PALM) VP David Temkin to head up its mobile efforts.
Rally Up Founder Sol Lipman tells TechCrunch that AOL wanted his company’s “scrappy energy.” Lipman and his eight colleagues will now work for AOL out of the company’s new west coast office.
AOL doesn’t say what specific areas it plans to target as part of its mobile strategy. However, in addition to to the social networking app, Rally Up is also behind another app called FacePlant, which lets users see which of their friends are available to chat on the iPhone 4’s FaceTime (NYSE: TWX) application. It’s still pending approval from Apple (NSDQ: AAPL). Lipman says AOL has bought it too.