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12/24/2009
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Twitter Acquires GeoAPI Creator Mixer Labs

Software allows users to map their Twitter posts to specific locations, though some worry about privacy

Twitter said it acquired Mixer Labs, a developer of software that allows users to map their Twitter posts to specific locations on maps and other tools.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"When current location is added to tweets, new and valuable services emerge—everything from breaking news to finding friends can be enhanced," said Twitter CEO Evan Williams, in a blog post Wednesday.

"Our efforts in this area have just begun," said Williams. Mixer Labs is the creator of the GeoAPI, a tool that developers use to underpin geospatial applications.

Williams envisions scenarios where users' tweets are automatically mapped to their location or to the subject of their post.

"We want to know what's happening, and, more precisely, where it is happening," said Williams.

"As a dramatic example, twittering 'Earthquake!' alone is not as informative as 'Earthquake' coupled with your current location," Williams wrote in his blog post about the deal.

Mixer Labs' GeoAPI is used by developers behind numerous geo-enabled apps, including Birdfeed, Seesmic Web, Foursquare, Gowalla, Twidroid, and Twittelator Pro.

While such apps offer useful location information, some critics have said that location-aware devices and software raise privacy concerns, as they allow companies to track users' physical movements.

Williams, however, said the technology will enhance the Twitter experience.

"We look forward to building features together that will make Twitter even more interesting and relevant to your daily life, no matter where you are," said Williams.

Williams said Mixer Labs' current staffers would join Twiitter workers at the company's San Francisco headquarters.

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