Plazes announced yesterday that is has been bought by Nokia. Plazes is a location based presence platform, which I've covered here and elsewhere before. In fact, I'm somewhat of an early user of Plazes who has been sticking with the service through a few incarnations, so I'm pretty excited about these news.

pic of plazes nokia

Of course, now comes the hard part. It's always a balancing act when very big companies acquire very small ones. You can't expect Nokia to adopt Plazes without any changes and roll it out to millions of customers tomorrow. In fact, you probably don't even want this to happen, because it would surely end in another Twitter-like downtime fiasco.

Plazes users on the other hand obviously want to keep using the social service they're used to and not see it evolve into a shiny but impersonal Nokia geo-presence app. And they definitely don't want this to be another Dodgeball (bought and abandoned by Google) or Jaiku (bought and frozen in time by Google).

Plazes and Nokia should probably take a good look at for inspirations. The service has been left virtually unchanged since the Yahoo acquisition and still shown substantial growth, but at the same time inspired other developments from Yahoo that are more geared towards the mass market.

One way to do this would be for Nokia to use the social geoloation data that has been accumulated by Plazes users over the years and that's now becoming available through the new Plazes API in their products while at the same time supporting Plazes to build out a powerful Twitter competitor with geo-presence.

I guess we'll have to wait and see, but the announcement on the Plazes blog sounds encouraging:

"It was important to make sure that whoever buys us is actually interested in running and improving the service. So be prepared for some continuous improvements in the months to come."

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