from the gotta-catch-em-all dept.
After having just acquired Oculus Rift and WhatsApp, Facebook has also recently purchased Finnish company ProtoGeo Oy, the maker of a popular fitness tracking app for Android and iOS called Moves for an undisclosed sum. While the company in its press release states:
For those of you that use the Moves app, the Moves experience will continue to operate as a standalone app, and there are no plans to change that or commingle data with Facebook.
It remains to be seen for how long that will remain true. Coverage of the acquisition at the Wall Street Journal notes:
Apps like Moves could also benefit Facebook by helping it gather data. At the heart of Facebook's business model is its knowledge about users, which it uses to sell targeted advertisements. The Facebook spokeswoman said the company won't use any data from the Moves app, but that could change in the future.
Research has shown that smartphone sensors leave trackable fingerprints. Due to imperfections in the hardware manufacturing process, it is possible to distinguish different devices just from sensor data.
The researchers tested more than 100 devices over the course of nine months: 80 standalone accelerometer chips used in popular smartphones, 25 Android phones and two tablets.
The accelerometers in all permutations were selected from different manufacturers, to ensure that the fingerprints weren't simply defects resulting from a particular production line.
With 96-percent accuracy, the researchers could discriminate one sensor from another.
"We do not need to know any other information about the phone - no phone number or SIM card number," Dey said. "Just by looking at the data, we can tell you which device it's coming from. It's almost like another identifier."
Maybe this explains why Facebook would be interested in a fitness app.