Twitter acquires Spindle and shows more interest in local discovery

Information network picks up a small startup versed in surfacing the best social updates from local businesses but shuts down its app.

Jennifer Van Grove Former Senior Writer / News
Jennifer Van Grove covered the social beat for CNET. She loves Boo the dog, CrossFit, and eating vegan. Her jokes are often in poor taste, but her articles are not.
Jennifer Van Grove
Spindle's app, which is being shuttered, helped people discover social updates from nearby shops, restaurants, bars, museums, and other venues. Screenshot/Jennifer Van Grove/CNET

Twitter has acquired Spindle, a mobile application for learning about what's happening nearby, the companies announced Wednesday.

"We've spent the past two and a half years building a product that helps you answer the question: 'What's happening nearby right now?'," the startup said in a blog post announcing its sale. "Every time we've experimented and looked beyond local discovery, we've been amazed by the breadth and quality of content shared on Twitter. By joining forces with Twitter, we can do so much more to help you find interesting, timely, and useful information about what's happening around you."

Spindle's application, which highlights status updates from local businesses, is being discontinued as the team moves to Twitter's San Francisco headquarters. The application acted like a local search engine, albeit powered by social data from Facebook and Twitter. It attempted to show people the updates that would resonate most based on the time of day and their potential desires, such as finding a bar with a good happy hour within walking distance.

The team could certainly prove useful should the information network wish to build out a rumored local discovery service that attempts to find the most relevant tweets nearby and help people discover things of interest in their immediate vicinity.

The small startup, founded in late 2010, had raised around $2.3 million in funding before being picked up by Twitter.