Yahoo buys Blink, messaging rival to Snapchat

The Internet portal will shut down the ephemeral messaging service and put the team to work on its own communication products.

Richard Nieva/CNET

The team behind the mobile app Blink announced in a blog post Tuesday that it has been acquired by Yahoo. The app lets users send texts, pictures, and audio that self-destruct, similar to the popular ephemeral messaging app Snapchat.

As a result of the tie up, Blink will shut down the app for both Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems. The 7-person team will join Yahoo at its Sunnyvale, Calif, headquarters and will work on the company's "smart communication products," a Yahoo spokesperson told CNET. TechCrunch reported news of the deal earlier.

"We look forward to the possibilities that will come from bringing the Blink vision to Yahoo," the Blink wrote.

Yahoo has been snapping up small startups in droves recently in an attempt to shore up its mobile offerings, acquiring some 40 young companies since CEO Marissa Mayer took over in 2012. Self-destructing apps have been buzzy: Snapchat, the leader in the space, reportedly drew an acquisition offer north of $3 billion by Facebook last year. While Snapchat's product is anchored more in disappearing photos, it added a chat capabilities earlier this month.

Yahoo has been on a mission to turn itself into a mobile company, where ad dollars are increasingly headed. Mayer recently announced that the company's mobile team now has over 500 engineers.

While Yahoo has had fits and starts in that arena, by contrast, Facebook -- another company that struggled to bring its core business from desktop computers to mobile devices -- now makes most of its advertising revenue on mobile. Last quarter, the social network made 59 percent of its overall ad sales on tablets and smartphones.

Last week, Facebook killed its own disappearing image app Poke, a blatant Snapchat clone.

While Yahoo is also shutting down Blink, it's unclear just how the Internet portal will use Blink's team and technology. Yahoo has made other deals in the past to bolster its communication products team. In December, the company bought the startup behind the personal assistant app Donna, and shut down the app so the team could work specifically on Yahoo Mail, which falls under Yahoo's communication products department.

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