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Nokia Eyes Location-Aware Social Networking

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Source: Reuters
The world's top mobile phone maker, Nokia, said on Monday it has agreed to buy social networking start-up Plazes as part of its major push into offering Internet services.

Plazes provides location-aware services that people can use to plan, record, and share their social activities.

"This acquisition helps Nokia to accelerate its vision of bringing people and places closer together, in line with our broader services strategy," Niklas Savander, the head of Nokia's Internet services, said in a statement.

Nokia did not disclose the value of the deal. Plazes has staff of 13, and its main operations are in Berlin.

Companies such as Plazes are trying to tap into the potential for new services as more mobile phones get equipped with technology to pinpoint their location.

Nokia has said it would have dozens of such phones to offer by the end of this year. To achieve new growth as the mobile phone business is set to mature in coming years Nokia started to invest heavily in building up its presence in Internet service.

It has offered $8.1 billion for U.S. digital maps firm Navteq -- a cornerstone of its services push -- and has said it would invest millions more this year and next.

The efforts tie into Ovi, Nokia's Internet services brand. Ovi, which means "door" in Finnish, is Nokia's plan to offer mobile consumers an easy way to access social networks and more of Nokia's services.

Ovi initially included the company's Nokia Music Store, N-Gage gaming service and Nokia Maps. Prior to Ovi's debut last August, Nokia already began making to expand its consumer-oriented services offerings, including its July 2007 purchase of photo-sharing site Twango.