Yahoo Is Shutting Down IntoNow, Nearly Three Years After Acquisition

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IntoNow — the second-screen app that Yahoo bought in the spring of 2011, just 12 weeks after its launch — is being shut down by its parent company. As of last week, IntoNow was taken off the Apple App Store and Google Play, and an email sent to users notified them that the app would stop working as of March 31.

For those who might have forgotten, IntoNow was one of the many second-screen TV apps that popped up in the early part of the decade, offering users the ability to “check in” to the television shows they were watching, and share their viewing habits with others on social networks that people actually used, like Facebook and Twitter.

(The idea was as preposterous then as it seems now, but thanks to the relative early success of Foursquare back in those days, eager app makers were trying to get people to check into every damn thing.)

IntoNow had at least a technological advantage over the other social TV apps out there, in that it had built-in auto content recognition (ACR) technology — which generally meant that it knew what you were watching before you did. It could, in a sense, identify what you were watching and check you into that program automatically.

That had lots of awesome implications for people who cared about stuff like advertising, because suddenly marketers could know with some certainty what shows people were watching while tooling around on their mobile phones and tablets, and hey — wouldn’t it be great if brands could serve up the same ads on the iPad that they were watching on the TV?

Consumers were understandably less enthused about that prospect, which is probably why none of the social TV apps out there have ever gone anywhere, IntoNow included.

The app itself is being shut down, but its technology lives on. Yahoo notes in a statement that apps like Yahoo Smart TV, and the new Loops feature in the Yahoo Sports iOS 7 app, will continue to leverage IntoNow’s ACR feature.

And let’s not forget probably the most important thing Yahoo got out of the acquisition was former IntoNow CEO Adam Cahan, who has been bumped up the ladder as part of Marissa Mayer’s Yahoo. He’s SVP of Mobile and Emerging Products at the company, helping to manage its portfolio of mobile apps and identify hot young startups for Yahoo to acqui-hire.

Anyway, for those of you who haven’t yet given up on the whole “second-screen thing,” there’s still hope. i.TV, which acquired social TV app maker GetGlue at a fire-sale price late last year, relaunched the thing with a new name — tvtag. Consider it the circle of life or whatever.

Yahoo statement on the shutdown below:

As part of our ongoing efforts to sharpen our focus, IntoNow will no longer be available for download in iTunes or Google Play as of January 24, 2014. Additionally, as of March 31st the IntoNow app will no longer
operate. The core IntoNow technology will live on through other products and apps, like Yahoo Smart TV and the new Loops feature in the Yahoo Sports iOS7 app.