Google's Busy Month of Acquisitions Continues Buying Spree

NEWS ANALYSIS: Google has bought four companies since April, and that's just the ones we know about. It's flush with cash and apparently is spending it.

Since April, Google has acquired at least four companies—Stackdriver, Appetas, Adometry and Titan Aerospace. For most acquirers, that might be enough for a year or even five years, but for Google, it's just its way of doing business.

On May 7, Google announced the purchase of Stackdriver, a Boston-based company that was started in 2012 to provide cloud application monitoring services to users.

In a post on the Stackdriver blog, the company's leaders wrote that they had started it to help businesses use data visualization and analytics to better monitor their cloud applications. Neither company commented on the deal after being contacted by eWEEK.

On the same day, Google acquired Appetas, which helps restaurants build, maintain, promote and grow specialized Websites that serve the needs of the food industry.

"We started Appetas to drastically simplify life for merchants by giving them a beautiful, easy-to-use online presence in seconds. We now have an opportunity to help merchants on an even bigger scale," the company posted on its site after the acquisition announcement.

As part of the purchase, though, Appetas will be "shutting down the Appetas service and working with our customers to transition their Websites over to alternative platforms," the company said in its post.

On May 6, Google acquired Adometry, a marketing and advertising optimization company that uses software-as-a-service- (SaaS-) based advanced analytics to process and analyze tens of billions of impressions and advertising transactions per month to identify what are consumers are buying. In a post about the acquisition, the company noted its excitement at joining Google and said that it will be sharing its future plans with its customers in the coming weeks.

In April, Google announced that it was getting into the high-altitude drone business with its purchase of Titan Aerospace in a move that is closely linked to Google's Project Loon efforts, which use high-altitude balloons to build a high-speed Internet network.

"Titan Aerospace and Google share a profound optimism about the potential for technology to improve the world," a Google spokesperson told eWEEK after the sale. "It's still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring Internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation. It's why we're so excited to welcome Titan Aerospace to the Google family."

So what's up with all of the recent acquisitions by Google?

Dan Olds, principal analyst of Gabriel Consulting, told eWEEK that while Google has been busy buying up companies, the thing that surprises him is that there doesn't seem to be a cohesive pattern to the purchases.

"It's pretty obvious that if you take a look at all these acquisitions … they are in vastly different areas," said Olds. "These decisions to buy I don't think are being made with a grand strategy" to buy in specific areas.

Companies like IBM in the past typically bought firms that were in the same areas of business as IBM, said Olds, while Google is exploring many more areas outside its core businesses of search, advertising and services. "With Google, it's been more all over the map," he said.

At the same time, though, Google must have some sort of strategy that it's not sharing publicly, said Olds. In that case, then, "each acquisition relates to a part of their business and it's giving them more reach into what people want, think and feel," he said.