Yahoo aims to strengthen mobile presence with Alike buy

The app is designed to give recommendations based on user favorites

Yahoo is bidding to strengthen its presence in the increasingly important mobile space with the acquisition of Alike, a location discovery app.

The move comes as Yahoo faces rising pressure to stay relevant and offer mobile products for consumers as it struggles to compete against Google, Facebook and other social networks.

Alike is designed to let users enter a specific location or business into their device, and it then provides recommendations on places to go that share qualities with the original place.

For instance, a person can enter the name of a boutique, single-origin, small-batch roasted coffee shop in San Francisco, and the app can return a list of similar cafés in Portland, according to a video posted on the service's website.

"We believe that distilled information, deeply personalized and made accessible anytime and anywhere, is what makes mobile experiences a part of our customers' daily lives," the Alike team posted Tuesday morning on its website.

"In Yahoo we've found a team as excited about this vision as we are, and who are serious about making it real," they said.

The acquisition follows recent remarks by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer on the importance of mobile in restoring the company's growth.

During the company's fourth-quarter earnings call last month, for instance, Mayer cited the firm's redesigned Flickr iOS app and Yahoo Mail as positive steps for the company, but added that "there's a lot of work still to be done."

In October Yahoo also bought Stamped, a mobile app for recording and sharing recommendations of people's favorite places or things.

But the extent to which the Alike acquisition will allow Yahoo to stake a claim in mobile location discovery remains unclear, given that Alike occupies a similar space as industry stalwarts like Yelp and Foursquare.

Other players in the location discovery space include Facebook's mobile Nearby feature, which recommends places to go based on users' friends, and also Google+ Local, which gives place recommendations based on users' circles, past reviews and current location.

Interestingly, the Alike app's partners have included Foursquare, as well as Yext, Citysearch, Factual, Singleplatform and Sqoot.

As of Tuesday the Alike applications for both iPhone and the desktop are no longer active, the team reported. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

During the afternoon Yahoo's Mayer will participate in a Q&A with financial analysts at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco.

Yahoo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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Zach Miners

IDG News Service
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