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Is Snapchat buying Vurb?

Snapchat is reportedly in the process of acquiring mobile search startup Vurb for around $US110 million, according to The Information.

The five-year-old startup, founded by Bobby Lo, is positioned as a mobile-friendly alternative to traditional search engines. Vurb collects information from various sources, including Yelp, Uber, Google Maps, Metacritic and Foursquare, and presents it in one place. This allows users, for instance, to search for new movies, watch trailers, check reviews, find cinemas and nearby restaurants, and organise transportation without having to toggle between different apps and searches. Another feature allows users to share these searches with friends through SMS.

It is not yet clear how the messaging app would make use of this functionality; Snapchat and Vurb have not commented on the reported acquisition. Some possible scenarios include providing relevant search results to users when they chat about a restaurant or store, or giving context to events that users see in Snapchat’s Discover section.

The startup raised $US10 million in funding from investors but has failed to gain traction in a market dominated by Google. Vurb founder and entrepreneur Bobby Lo previously started online marketing company Yodle.



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