As acquisitions go, Facebook really lacked a fitness tracker, but the recent acquisition of Moves mark’s the social network’s entry in this field.
It’s a habit for some companies to kill the services they acquire in order to integrate them in their own products. Moves seems to be as one of the exceptions, as Facebook won’t include this app’s functionality into its own anytime soon. For the time being, Moves users might not even notice that the app and the service have a different owner now.
ProtoGeo Oy, the Finnish company that developed Moves, announced on this service’s blog that “For those of you that use the Moves app – the Moves experience will continue to operate as a standalone app, and there are no plans to change that or commingle data with Facebook.”
While the Moves service itself might not be altered in the not-so-distant future, ProtoGeo Oy will start working on current Facebook services. This suggests that the social network’s mobile apps might gain a similar functionality soon.
The unique aspect of Moves was that once installed, people didn’t even have to launch the app or enable the data connection in order to track their physical activities or routes. The app was permanently active in the background, even though it didn’t even appear in the Task Manager. At the end of the day, users could see the places they’ve been to, as well as the routes they’ve taken and the means of transport (by foot, by bike or by public transport).
The fact that it doesn’t actively use the GPS or data connections has its downsides, as the routes are not drawn precisely. From this point of view, I prefer a lot more such mobile apps as Endomondo, despite their more aggressive use of the battery, just because I can see exactly the streets I walked on.
Moves has a minimalistic interface that shows the number of steps or the distance covered, along with a simplified version of the route, focused on the places where the user spent the most time. Other fitness trackers provide a lot more detail, at the smartphone battery’s expense. The Finnish app is directly competing against such passive activity tracking apps as Human more than against Runtastic and the likes.