As an early stage investor in Plazes, I’m pleased to report Nokia has just announced the acquisition of the company. Congratulations to Felix Petersen and all the Plazes team!

Plazes, a service that lets you locate your friends and share your location and social activities, is a pioneer  in the location based services segment which is now gaining more and more traction thanks to Nokia’s and Apple’s moves in the market and a bunch of new startups developing new services and applications. In a few month Plazes will be made available to millions of Nokia customers as part of Nokia’s Ovi.com service platform and Nokia Maps. For Plazes and its users this acquisition is a great chance to take the service mainstream, in front of millions of mobile users.

This is not the first of Nokia’s moves in location services, in 2006 the company acquired Gate5, a Berlin-based startup that developed mobile mapping apps. With last year’s acquisition of Navteq for $8.1 billions (soon to be approved by the European Commission), Plazes will be in good company and a perfect fit with Nokia’s strategy for location services, helping the mobile phones giant integrate location based social features in its mapping products.

Nokia will of course keep running and improving the Plazes service (and new users will be able to sign up for the service). The company will still be based in Berlin together with the location based service team from Nokia, previously part of gate5.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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Robin Wauters on June 23, 2008  · 

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