Facebook buys messaging vendor Beluga

Facebook has acquired the mobile messaging company Beluga, according to a note on Beluga’s website. Financial details were not disclosed.

Beluga’s application allows groups of friends to communicate in private using their smart phones. A user can create a so-called pods, to which friends can be invited.

Within a pod, users can send messages and share images and locations, according to Beluga’s website. The free application is available for Apple’s iPhone and Android-based smart phones.

For now, Beluga’s application will continue to function as it does today. Existing accounts and data will not be lost, the company writes.

Recently, Facebook has stepped up its smart phone push. The company has, for example, worked with HTC and INQ on smart phones with tighter Facebook integration. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sent a video message to HTC’s news conference at the Mobile World Congress last month — where it launched the Salsa and the ChaCha — to say users can expect many more phones with much deeper integration with Facebook to arrive this year.

Today, there are more than 200 million active users accessing Facebook via their mobile devices.

What Facebook’s plans are for Beluga and its three founders — all of whom have at one time worked at Google — remains to be seen, but more details will be released in the coming weeks, according to Beluga.

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