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.
Google’s Busy Month of Acquisitions Continues Buying Spree
Google has made some other notable acquisitions in recent months.
In February, the company bought SlickLogin to add the Israeli startup’s sound-based log-in authentication services to Google’s always-broadening reach in the IT marketplace. The system allows users to place their telephone next to their laptops or tablets when logging in to secure sites so that the company’s app can “hear” the high-pitched sounds used for authentication and log the user in.
In January, Google acquired Bitspin, the Swiss maker of the free Timely alarm clock app for Android, which is available free on Google Play. Bitspin allows users to customize many features they want to use in the alarm clock app, according to the company. Timely uses the cloud to back up and synchronize a user’s alarms with multiple devices.
In September 2013, Google bought Bump, which created the Bump app that lets users move files from smartphones to computers and vice versa by “bumping” the spacebar with the device to make the transfer, or by bumping their smartphones together. The company was acquired for a reported $40 million. On Dec. 31, 2013, however, just four months after the deal, Bump announced that Google would discontinue its services.
In June 2013, Google made another intriguing mobile app acquisition when it bought Waze, a crowd-based traffic and navigation app for mobile devices. Waze collects and communicates user-generated reports on traffic and navigation information to help drivers ease their commuting stresses. Google paid about $1.3 billion to acquire the Israel-based Waze to add to Google’s growing portfolio of popular and revenue-enhancing mapping tools.
Interestingly, Google announced back in March 2013 that it had amassed some $48 billion in cash that it would use for acquisitions, according to an eWEEK report. The total was announced by Google Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette at a technology conference held by Morgan Stanley in San Francisco.
Google is apparently spending what it has amassed.