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Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Online dating company Match Group announced Tuesday plans to acquire Korean social discovery company Hyperconnect for $1.73 billion.

Why it matters: The deal signals Match Group’s ambitions beyond online dating and is its largest acquisition to date, per Wall Street Journal.

Details: Hyperconnect’s two apps focus on facilitating engagement.

  • Azar is a live video and audio chat platform that translates voice and text in real time for users around the world.
  • Hakuna Live is a live-streaming app for video and audio broadcasts and includes features like augmented-reality powered avatars.
  • The company is based in Seoul, South Korea.

The big picture, via Axios’ Sara Fischer: Dating apps have been pushing to introduce new features, including live video chat, to help users connect, especially amid the pandemic where in-person contact is limited.

  • Match Group owns dating apps Tinder, Hinge and OkCupid, among others, in addition to its namesake platform. The company spun off from IAC last year.

What they’re saying: "Match and Hyperconnect draw from a common philosophy: utilize technology and know-how to drive meaningful connections through trusted brands that users love,” Hyperconnect CEO Sam Ahn said in a statement.

Go deeper

Clubhouse gains momentum as Big Tech leaders join

Screen shot from Clubhouse website

Recent appearances from Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk on Clubhouse are bringing attention to the venture-backed audio social network, which has also seen a boost in downloads over the past few weeks.

Yes, but: The app is already beginning to face the same growing pains that other upstart social networks have experienced for years. For example, Clubhouse — which requires an invite to access — is reportedly already being blocked in China.

Feb 9, 2021 - Technology

Snapchat urges users to remove unwanted connections

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Snapchat on Tuesday rolled out a new feature reminding its users — the vast majority of whom are under the age of 30 — to remove unwanted connections from their contact list.

Why it matters: While most social networks try to bait engagement by encouraging users to add as many new connections as possible, Snapchat wants to instead use this moment to remind users that “Snapchat is for real friends.”

California governor declares drought emergency in most counties

A sign in April on the outskirts of Buttonwillow in California's Kern County, one of the top agriculture producing counties in the San Joaquin Valley, after historically low winter rainfall. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) extended a drought emergency declaration to cover 41 of the state's 58 counties on Monday.

Why it matters: Most of California and the American West are experiencing an "extreme" or "exceptional" drought, per the U.S. Drought Monitor. Newsom and other officials are concerned California could experience a repeat of the catastrophic 2020 wildfire season.

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