For Google and Facebook, the race is on to figure out exactly how we use our mobile devices.

Following Facebook’s announcement that it bought Onavo, whose technology could give it deep insights into user app habits, now Engadget is reporting that Google may be working on a similar service dubbed “Mobile Meter.”

Just like Onavo, Mobile Meter would enable Google to track your mobile data usage and send other information (like how long you’ve used an app, and how often you open specific apps) back to the company’s servers. Since Onavo positions itself as a mobile data compression service, its users are trading lower mobile data bills for their app usage statistics. In Google’s case, it may simply pay you to monitor your app habits, reports Engadget.

Google, not surprisingly, isn’t commenting on the report. But a service like Mobile Meter would make sense for Google, as it can’t sit back and let Facebook gather data about mobile users that Google can’t touch.

It would also be similar to the Android mobile advertising company Locket, which pays users for placing ads on their lock screens. The research company Nielsen also rewards people for giving up some of their mobile data habits. Just like our willingness to offer up personal information to the likes of Facebook and Google, there will likely be a violent reaction to this new breed of privacy-invading apps, but it’s becoming clear that they’re going to play a big role in the future of mobile.

More information:

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.39 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 we... read more »

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »

Onavo empowers smartphone and tablet users to regain control of their mobile data usage, by providing a service that makes mobile data consumption transparent, manageable and efficient. Its first app enables iPhone and iPad users to sl... read more »

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