Google’s 2009 Acquisitions : Focus on Mobile & Collaboration

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I was reading up on Google acquisitions yesterday and although Google’s acquisition this year is not as many as previous years, particularly 2006 and 2007, Google’s acquisitions in 2009 certainly made sense with their landmark acquisition of AdMob as their most expensive buy.

But looking at Google’s 2009 acquisitions from a quality, and not quantity perspective, we see that the company is focusing its takeover of other companies in two major directions : Mobile & Google Apps. The speeding up of the web is essential to growth of mobile computing, whether on the netbook or smartphone, and judging on where Google has put most of its research and development in 2009 : Google Chrome OS, Google powered netbooks, Google Droid Phone and Android Mobile OS … the ability to condense data into a stream which can make the most of our current 3G and mobile networks’ definition of mobile broadband … while also enhance the usefulness of cloud computing, both are essential to Google’s future.

Here’s a look at the companies Google acquired in 2009 :

  • On2 – Acquired on August 5, 2009 for $106,500,000 ; On2 is a video compression applications company. As of today, Google has not made any move yet on how it is going to make use of On2, but utilizing it as part of Google Wave and Google Video (which is being tested in GMail Chat) could make cloud conferencing more of a streamlined and less expensive possibility and assist with the adoption of Google Apps by businesses and governments (Washington DC and Los Angeles are currently saving millions using Google Apps).
  • AdMob – Google’s most expensive acquisition of 2009 made it to spend $750,000,000 last month. This could very well fit into Google mobile advertising business and AdMob is the preferred monetization tool of mobile application developers who use AdMob to earn money with free iPhone apps and other downloadable mobile tools. Google will use AdMob to syphon part of Apple’s monetary market in 2010 and integrating AdMob into Google AdSense is an important part of Google’s long term strategy to corner the mobile development market.
  • Gizmo5 – Acquired the same day when Admob was acquired, Gizmo5 is a VoIP company. Google had to spend $30,000,000 for this company, obviously to beef up its Google Voice service, which is again, an essential part of not only Google’s mobile aspirations, but also Google Apps.
  • Teracent – An online display advertising company bought for an undisclosed amount. Google is definitely going to use this for its AdSense program and further expansion into the world of display advertising … or the DoubleClick side of AdSense. While Teracent may not be an obvious mobile oriented acquisition, it will assist Google in better monetizing display advertising by assisting Google’s advertisers with putting together display ads which bring results and sales. The more money Google and its advertisers bring in, the more profitable Google becomes. In my opinion Google beefing up its advertising is a direct target on the Yahoo & Microsoft partnership, as both companies, especially Yahoo, have strong display advertising networks and power display advertising on various online newspapers. Now that Google is bringing the news onto the mobiles and netbooks in an easy to read fashion with Google Fast Flip (the mobile connection), expect Google to make a strong push to work with these same publishing outlets.
  • AppJet (Etherpad) – This online collaboration tool is obviously geared for Google Wave, an essential part of Google Apps and cloud communication.
  • DocVerse – Although still in the planning stages, it looks like Google will soon be acquiring DocVerse, another collaboration tool which allows users to work together around Microsoft Office documents, much in the same manner that Google Docs allows contributors to work on Docs on Spreadsheets. Yet again, another jab at Microsoft and way to streamline applications and make Google Apps an even stronger service in 2010, especially as Microsoft upgrades Office Live.

There has been talk of an acquisition of Yelp by Google over the weekend, which could be the largest Google acquisition since YouTube, if not the most important acquisition by Google ever. (Update: It looks like the deal is off, as TechCrunch reports that Yelp walked away from the negotiation table).

Yelp would be the central offering of Google’s mobile services and would finally complete Google Local with a Google powered review service, instead of its aggregation of other services. With Yelp off the table however, and Google apparently sitting on over $500 million to spend before the end of the year, are there any other companies they should be acquiring?

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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