Snapchat is acquiring mobile search app Vurb for more that $110 million. Vurb is more of a recommendations app than a search app, to see it technically. The app enables you to make collaborative decisions with your pals over mobile. Apparently, Snapchat finds this alluring and may as well implement this in its future set of services.
Apparently, the messaging client has been in for this deal for a while now. According to The Information, the company has agreed to pay $110 million for Vurb– 75 percent stock and 25 percent cash. Not just this, as a retention bonus, the company has also offered to pay an additional $75 million to keep Vurb founder and CEO Bobby Lo around.
If you don’t know what Vurb does, let me summarise it for you. The app offers a state-of-the-art search service that allows you to bundle multiple queries with their results and share them with your friends. This means you don’t have to initiate individual searches and browse through the countless pages to find what you are looking for.
Instead, Vurb makes mobile search focussed on browsing. The service offers a beautiful card-based interface, similar to Google Now, showing you information from partners like Yelp and Rotten Tomatoes. The app later aimed to become a monolithic WeChat-style app that offered utilities offered by third-parties onto its new instant messaging feature to help you arrange plans.
The big news, however, isn’t the acquisition itself, but why Snapchat was interested in a mobile search app at all. The answer is fairly simple.
Although Snapchat is highly popular and has an amazing amount of features to offer, it still has a handful of problems. The biggest of these is the app’s confusing interface that makes it difficult for new users to get up and running. Sure experienced users won’t have any problem with how Snapchat looks. But new users find it quite difficult to find what they want in the not so intuitive UI.
Another problem is that Snapchat is still fiddling with revenue streams.
With Vurb in its pocket, Snapchat might just be able to tackle these problems and more. Vurb’s technology and talent may help Snapchat surface accounts worth following. It may also provide some unique monetization streams from geo-targeted search. All this puts Snapchat is a very unique position in the market.