Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) spent more than $1.4 billion to purchase 57 companies of various sizes and persuasions, blasting apart the company's previous record of 48 acquisitions from 2010.
The search engine provider revealed in a 10-Q filing with that Securities and Exchange Commission that it paid $941 million in cash for three deals alone.
That sum includes $676 million for flight software provider ITA Software in April; $151 million for restaurant review guide maker Zagat; and $114 million for daily deals asset Daily Deals, both in September.
Google paid another $502 million on the other 54 companies, which include These acquisitions were not material individually or in aggregate, according to Google. Google also bid in August to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, but that isn't likely to close until 2012, due to current regulatory scrutiny.
Google isn't done with M&A either. The company spent that much and picked up that many assets only through September, which means that it acquired more than 6 companies a month to date. With 3 months left in the new year, it's possible Google could tack another 10 or 15 purchases before 2012.
Why buy all of these companies and what's the grand plan? Most of the buys have been cloud-based players that bolster the company's local search, advertising, video and social software services.
Ultimately, Google is weaving a fresh tapestry of Web services and applications into its Google+ social network, which it hopes to make the center of the user experience.
ITA has been leveraged in Google Flight Search. Zagat will be used in Google Places for local business search.
Daily Deals, along with loyalty card provider Punchd, coupon providerZave Networks and daily deals aggregator DealMap will likely be used to fortify the Google Offers deals and Google Wallet mobile payment services.
Google's YouTube arm bought video producer Next New Networks, which is being used to help fashion new channels on YouTube, as well as Fflick for social sentiment analysis and Green Parrot Pictures for video processing.