Walmart Labs, the wing of the consumerist Goliath responsible for capturing more market share via social media and mobile applications, acquired iOS app developers Small Society this week.
Small Society has worked with other big names in the past, such as Hilton and Amazon to develop iOS apps for their businesses.
This is the latest move by WalMart Labs in a series of acquisitions that include purchasing Grabble, a system that allows you to scan a QR code on a store receipt to load it into your mobile device. They have also acquired OneRiot, a social advertising company.
Walmart appears to be gathering pieces in an effort to built a Frankenstein's monster that will sell things to you on your phone. Of course, when I am in WalMart, I can't get phone signal and there is no WiFi unless there is also a McDonalds in the store. Heaven help you if you happen to be in Tire and Lube. Perhaps WalMart Labs' next purchase should be a wireless router.
WalMart Labs basically came into being fully-formed when WalMart purchased the company Kosmix for $300 million in 2011. Kosmix was designed to help people make sense of loads of data, a Twitter stream for example, and figure out what it could tell them about their customers. The founders had already sold one company they had created, Junglee, to Amazon for $250 million in 1998.
WalMart's interest in translating what is floating around on social media is understandable. Some things out there are admittedly vague:
#evil Walmart today. Feel's like I forfeited a corner of my soul to the Dark Side.I had to buy a couple of things at