10 Companies We Want to See Google Buy

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10 Companies We Want to See Google Buy

by Clint Boulton

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The no-brainer target and a lesson in try, try again. With Facebook taking out FriendFeed, Google might want to do something dramatic to enter the real-time search conversations. Instead of just buying Collecta, CrowdEye or TweetMeme, why not own the real estate for the real-time conversations? Henry Blodget says to offer $1 billion; it could be the best $1 billion Google would ever spend in one shot.

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Google has been improving the social accessibility of its Web services, adding new social gadgets to iGoogle and letting users share content on Google Reader. These overtures are nice, but does anyone see Google gradually building a social network that people want to spend a lot of time in? MySpace has been floundering for survival, but the company last week bought social music app iLike. Would News Corp part with MySpace? For the right price, we believe it would.

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Just get it over with already. Google and Salesforce.com already have integrations in collaboration software and application hosting. SAAS CRM is the wave of the future. Why wouldn't Google went to get in on this? Google should actually do a one-two punch: Buy Twitter and Salesforce.com. Many Salesforce.com users use Twitter already. Integrate Google Web services with Salesforce.com CRM and Twitter to offer a comprehensive enterprise application supply chain.

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For the Love of Android

We've said this before, but: Clearwire. Yes, Google has already made a major $500 million investment in the WiMax provider, joining Intel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in funding the company to the tune of $3.2 billion. Clearwire could serve as a fine launching pad for Android, which is not exactly setting the world on fire.

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Moving on to the next whale. E-commerce companies collect loads of consumer data that a search engine such as Google can mine for greater advertising opportunities. Why shouldn't Google grab one of the leading travel sites? Almost as confirmation that this is a good idea, eWEEK has heard Expedia as a possible Google target. But why not Priceline.com? Like Expedia, Priceline.com has a $6.2 billion market cap, but Expedia doesn't have William Shatner as its pitchman. How could this go wrong? Google would have to be careful about weighing search results in Priceline.com's favor.

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Rearden Commerce

We at eWEEK have broached this topic before, but Google has done nothing to satisfy our wishes. Rearden is the leading personal assistant site for businesses, helping business workers book flights, rental cars, hotels and restaurants, and procure tickets for sporting events, concerts and the theater. Rearden would be a great concierge alongside Google apps such as Docs, Gmail and other Web services.

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Just TripIt

Let's say Google grabs Rearden. A logical follow-up purchase would be would Tripit.com. It won't book trips for you like Rearden, but it will help those who book trips collect travel details from multiple sites and put them into one master online itinerary. The perfect complement for Rearden in Google Apps.

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Google Apps Takes Off with Mindjet

Speaking of Google Apps, the SAAS suite could look more lively with Mindjet, a mind mapping and visual collaboration tool for project management. Companies and individuals use Mindjet to build strategic plans, run meetings and hold brainstorming sessions. Moreover, integration has already been done here. Users can grab URLs from Gmail, Google Docs, Google Presentations, Google Spreadsheets and Google Reader into Mindjet maps.

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Just a Hunch

Google may have regular Web search sewn up, but just as it has a hole in real-time search, Google has eschewed recommendation engines. Some already exist, but why not start with a fresh approach in Hunch, a crowd-sourcing site that culls information from users by asking them questions about topics.

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Amazon Web Services

In case you haven't noticed, App Engine hasn't exactly taken off in its year and a half of life. If Google was really serious about hosting other companies' computing resources, why not grab Amazon Web Services from Amazon? AWS hosted compute, storage, database and other computing operations can make Google a formidable SAAS infrastructure. Google wouldn't just host apps for people and businesses, but pretty much everything under the computing sun.