July 23, 2012
The most recent purchase in Facebook's slew of buyouts is the iOS application design company Acrylic. Known for its popular apps Wallet and Pulp, a personal database app and an RSS feed aggregate, respectively, Acrylic has made a name for itself with its high-quality design work. Facebook has recently been purchasing companies, not for their apps, but to gain the talent behind those apps. VentureBeat reported that Wallet and Pulp were not part of the purchase, but future development of those apps has been put on hold.
This news came shortly after that of Google's acquisition of Sparrow, a popular email app that was recently spotlighted for simplifying the iOS Gmail experience. The company will be folded into the Gmail team at Google.
Buying smaller companies for their design talent seems to be a strong trend, with previous purchases by Facebook for Instagram and Face.com. This practice not only gives the company proven mobile application development expertise, but brings in new talent to innovate current products. Users should expect to see some of the innovations that make Sparrow, Instagram and Pulp so popular transfer over to Facebook and Google in the near future.
According to the Next Web, this is just part of Facebook's plan to improve its mobile experience. Following the recent announcement of a major revamp of the Facebook iOS app, with the entire source code to be redone in iOS' native app language rather than HTML5, this may indicate major changes on the horizon.
Dustin MacDonald, CEO of Acrylic, said on the company's official blog that he is personally excited to make this move, as he views Facebook as one of the most innovative and important companies around today.
"After visiting late last year, I discovered that we shared many of the same core product design goals and principles, and it soon became obvious that it was a natural fit," MacDonald wrote. "Simply put, there’s an opportunity at Facebook to have a big impact in many people’s lives. More importantly, Facebook is full of extremely talented people who will be able to help realize its full potential in the years to come."
While it unclear whether or not the Acrylic team will be directly involved in the GUI design of Facebook's mobile app, this seems the likely direction considering their previous work and expertise.