Yahoo Announces That It Has Acquired “Intelligent Homescreen” Startup Aviate

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer just made her first announcement onstage during her Consumer Electronics Show keynote — that the company has acquired Aviate, a startup that taps the apps on your smartphone to bring up information at the moment that it’s relevant.

Mayer suggested that Yahoo could use Aviate’s technology to deliver its content in ways that are “smarter and more personalized.” For example, she said that your homescreen could automatically show you stock quotes at the beginning of the day, instead of forcing you to open a finance app.

The company offered more details in a blog post:

We envision homescreens becoming smarter, more personalized, aware of your context. Aviate helps us bring this vision to life. Aviate auto-categorizes apps on your Android phone and intelligently gathers them into “spaces.” By using signals to understand your context – WIFI, GPS, Accelerometer, Time, etc – Aviate automatically surfaces information at the moment it’s useful. So whether you’re just waking up, driving, at work, or maybe out for the night, Aviate learns your habits and helps anticipate the information and apps you need – making your phone smarter.

Note that Aviate is an Android product, and the blog post says Yahoo plans to make it “a central part of our Android-based experiences in 2014 (and beyond)” — not, it seems, on iOS. When it was independent, Aviate did tell us that it had iOS plans, but I’m guessing its capabilities would be significantly limited. It’s also interesting to see Yahoo making an Android-focused acquisition, especially since we’ve written about the company’s challenges in launching a big, sustainable hit on Apple’s platform.

The Yahoo post doesn’t offer any details about the financials of the deal, but it does suggest, unsurprisingly, that the Aviate team is joining the company. The startup raised a $1.8 million round of funding last year from Highland Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and others.