Through mergers, acquisitions, and its own development team, Facebook has amassed an impressive array of companies and brands under its umbrella.
Brands owned by Facebook
When you have two billion users, language barriers can pose a major challenge.
Jibbigo, acquired in 2013, is a translation app that uses speech recognition software and offline translation capabilities. With Jibbigo, Facebook could eventually develop cross-language chat and News Feed posts that are automatically posted in multiple languages.
When Facebook purchased Atlas Solutions from Microsoft in 2013, experts described the deal as something that could change the world of advertising, and one that could allow Facebook to more effectively compete against Google.
Atlas Solutions, which operates as a separate entity, allows companies to track the effectiveness of their social media campaigns.
Facebook’s acquisition of Israeli tech firm Onavo strengthened its mobile offering. Onavo helps improve app and data performance on Android and iOS devices while also giving mobile publishers tools to track how well their apps are performing, compared to the competition.
The acquisition also gave Facebook a much sought-after office in Israel.
Global cyber attacks in recent years have highlighted just how important data security is, especially for a company like Facebook, which collects data and personal information on billions of people.
Facebook’s acquisition of PrivateCore in 2014 aims to protect its massive data centers from costly malware attacks.
Facebook acquired Face.com for a reported $60 million in 2012. Face.com pioneered facial recognition technology on mobile devices. It uses Face.com’s facial recognition technology to power its photo-tagging feature, which allows users of the social media platform to receive quick and accurate suggestions on who to tag in their photos.
FriendFeed was a social media platform that created a number of features that Facebook subsequently popularized, such as the “like” button and Facebook’s news feed.
It acquired FriendFeed in 2009.
Messenger, with over a billion users, is one of Facebook’s most successful apps. Formerly called Facebook Chat, this app has made Facebook a titan in the world of instant messaging. It also features voice and video calling and has become the default form of digital communication for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
When Facebook bought photo-sharing startup Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion, most analysts thought Mark Zuckerberg had made a colossal mistake. At the time, Instagram had only 13 employees and had never turned a profit. It only had 30 million users — a paltry amount compared to the Facebook’s hundreds of millions of users at the time.
Today, Instagram has 400 million users and the largest stockpile of photos in the world.
When Facebook paid $2 billion for virtual reality startup Oculus VR in 2014, the tech industry collectively rolled its eyes. Up until then virtual reality was something that plenty of tech insiders liked to dream of, but it had few serious backers. Now, companies are scrambling to create headsets that will dominate the industry while game developers are tripping over themselves to create new VR games.
While the industry is still young, it is safe to say that Facebook helped virtual reality enter the mainstream through its acquisition of Oculus VR.
Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014 has dwarfed all its other acquisitions. It’s the preferred instant messaging platform in the developing world, which could make monetizing it easier in places like Africa, where mobile payments are already routine.