Home Yahoo Acquires Koprol, a Location-Based Social Network

Yahoo Acquires Koprol, a Location-Based Social Network

Yahoo announced last night it has acquired Koprol, an Indonesian mobile location-based service. With Koprol, which launched last year, users are able to see where their friends are and what they’re doing in real-time. Like Foursquare here in the U.S., Koprol lets people check in when they arrive at a particular location and then share tips, reviews, photos or other messages with nearby users.

According to a statement from Yahoo’s Rose Tsou, senior VP of the Asia region, mobile users are increasingly using mobile phones for Internet access. “This is especially true in many emerging markets where we are introducing the Yahoo brand to many new-to-Net users,” she said. “Koprol was uniquely designed for mobile phones and within a year has already built a strong user base.”

On the Koprol blog post announcing the news, the company says it now plans to get “bigger” and expand beyond Indonesia. It will also be able to roll out new and planned features faster, thanks to Yahoo’s support, including mobile applications, business accounts and an Indonesian-language version.

Although the comparisons to Foursquare abound, Koprol is more like a mashup of Foursquare and Yelp. Like Foursquare (or any of the popular location-based social networks, really, including Brightkite, Gowalla, Loopt, etc.) you can check in to a location or create your own and then join the location’s discussions. Plus, in Koprol, you can “summon” your friends to chat with you. However, it’s the “social city guide” that sets it apart. This feature is more like Yelp, the San Francisco-based user-generated-reviews site. Koprol users can rate local restaurants, shops and businesses with thumbs-up and thumbs-down buttons. (For what it’s worth, Yelp is also trying to turn its service into a mobile social network by offering a check-in feature, but as of yet it hasn’t really taken off).

Will Koprol’s First Mobile App be for Nokia Phones?

In a separate deal also announced yesterday, Yahoo and Nokia revealed their new partnership, something they dubbed Project Nike, in reference to the Greek goddess of victory. The partnership includes adding Yahoo services into Nokia mobile phones and building Nokia features, like Ovi Maps, into Yahoo’s offerings. Specifically, Nokia will power Yahoo’s maps and navigation while Yahoo will run its email and chat programs on Nokia’s Ovi platform.

Considering this newfound alliance, it’s possible that Koprol’s first dedicated mobile application hinted at in the company blog post could be for Nokia phones. Nothing along those lines has been announced or confirmed, though.

In the meantime, those curious about Koprol can create an account on its website. You can sign in via Facebook, Google, Twitter or Yahoo (of course) and then associate your account with those same services as well as FireEagle, Yahoo’s own open location-based platform. The FireEagle integration, in fact, may be why this startup was such an attractive acquisition target.

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