Twitter buys Spindle to thread in location discovery tools

Spindle's services have been shut down for the transition

Spindle screenshot

Spindle screenshot

Twitter has bought Spindle, a search technology company that informs users about what's happening with local businesses and organizations around them.

The deal, the terms of which were not disclosed, could help Twitter beef up its efforts to keep users "in the loop." The company has been rumored to be working on its own location discovery feature to surface certain tweets posted by people nearby.

Spindle's technology was based on delivering social updates from businesses and other sources to users. For example, Spindle users could use interactive maps to see where things were happening nearby and also set alerts to receive notifications from specific places.

Spindle, which has been based in Boston, aims to "help people discover valuable social content they couldn't otherwise find," the company says on its website.

As of May, the company's services were available in 12 markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C.

Now, Spindle will be relocating to Twitter's San Francisco headquarters, and its services will be shut down as the company focuses on "new and exciting opportunities," Spindle said.

"By joining forces with Twitter, we can do so much more to help you find interesting, timely and useful information about what's happening around you," the company said in a blog post on its site.

Twitter did not make any formal announcement on the buy beyond posting a tweet that read, "Spindle has been acquired by Twitter and joins the flock." The company declined to comment further.

Twitter already offers some location-based tools with Trends, which is designed to display breaking news and current hot topics that are relevant to people, partly based on where they live. Trends was expanded to 160 new locations in April.

Incorporating Spindle's technology into its own services could make Twitter's platform more competitive with tools offered by its rivals such as Foursquare and Facebook's Nearby, which helps users find nearby businesses on their mobile devices based on the activity of their friends.

Twitter has been buying up a small assemblage of companies in recent months. In May it announced the purchase of big-data analyzer Lucky Sort, just one week after snapping up code scaling service Ubalo. Other acquisitions this year have included We are Hunted and Bluefin Labs.

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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