The team behind small New York photo-organization app Viewfinder is joining Square in what appears to be an acqui-hire to grow the mobile payments company’s Big Apple presence and gain some engineering talent.
Square CTO Bob Lee announced the move in Square’s engineering blog on Tuesday, singling out founders Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis, who created the GIMP open-source image editor. Mattis and Kimball were also among employees in Google’s(s goog) NYC engineering office, which developed much of Google’s data infrastructure. They brought their imaging expertise to Viewfinder, which developed an iPhone(s aapl) app that organizes photos by time and location. From Lee’s blog post:
The team is incredibly talented, having built an app that blends beautiful design and highly technical engineering to create personal, human experiences. This too is our mantra at Square, and the Viewfinder team’s expertise in building simple, elegant mobile applications will help us in our mission to make commerce easy for everyone.
It doesn’t look like Square is buying Viewfinder’s technology and app, though. On Viewfinder’s site, the company said it would continue to support existing users for the time being, but wouldn’t be issuing any new updates. The app itself has been taken down from iTunes.
Why does Square want a photo organization and editing expertise? Square probably isn’t interested in delving into consumer phone photography, but as it builds up its online sales portal for merchants, Square Market, it’s becoming much more focused on design and presentation. Viewfinder’s team could help it build a much sleeker online and mobile storefronts for its retail customers.