Google Starts Shopping For Businesses Again

Google CEO sees one small acquisition a month from Reuters reports Google's CEO as saying they are back in the business of acquiring businesses. He told Reuters, "acquisitions are turned on again at Google and we are doing our normal maneuvers, which is small companies." "My estimate would be one-a-month acquisitions and these are largely in lieu of hiring. There may be larger acquisitions, but they really are unpredictable," Schmidt added. Google slowed or halted all acquisitions sometime around early January of this year. Most recently, Google acquired reCAPTCHA, but you can read abou [...]


Google Acquires reCAPTCHA To Improve OCR & Rumors Of Brightcove Acquisition

The big news is that Google has officially acquired reCAPTCHA. reCAPTCHA are those funny looking letters you see when you fill out forms, asking you to enter in the letters into a box, in order for you to validate that you are indeed a human. Why did Google buy them? Not for the CAPTCHA feature, but as a way to improve their OCR technology, the technology they use to understand scanned words. reCAPTCHA has a pretty large database of letters they collected matched to what actual humans thought those letters were. This is somewhat similar to how Google Image Labeler works, where Google [...]


Google CEO: We Considered Buying A Newspaper

This had been reported before, but Google CEO Eric Schmidt acknowledged that Google had looked at investing in or buying a newspaper in an interview in London with the Financial Times: FT: Would you ever consider buying a newspaper; they’re cheap right now? ES: We’ve actually looked at this and we’re trying to avoid crossing the line between the infrastructure and technology that Google provides and the content that our partners provide. There is a line and we’re trying to stay on our side it. Schmidt thinks that charging for news won't work online. He cited a few exceptions for " [...]


“Heard” Mentality: Twitter In Acquisition Talks Or Not?

TechCrunch reported late last night that Twitter was in late stage talks to be acquired by Google. That sent what used to be called the "blogosphere" into a frenzy. Kara Swisher, of AllThingsD, striking back against what she believes was sloppy journalism (and TechCrunch more generally), said no: In fact, Twitter and Google have simply been engaged in "some product-related discussions," according to one source, around real-time search and the search giant better crawling the microblogging service. Said a source close to Twitter: "There was a discussion with [Google executive Marissa Mayer' [...]


Google Implements ‘Orion’ Technology, Improves Search Refinements & Adds Longer Snippets

Google is announcing two changes to search results this morning. The first involves the use of longer "snippets" (text extracts containing the keywords) when users input queries of three words or more. The objective is to provide more context to help the user determine if the site is worth visiting. Many search engines have attempted to address this same problem with visual tools or "previews" of one sort or another. (Vanessa will postscript with more detail about snippets.) It's difficult to predict whether or how longer snippets will affect user behavior but it may create incentives to in [...]


Google Acquisitions Real & Rumored: Korean Blogging Platform, PC Games Producer Valve

Last week Google confirmed that it had made its first Korean acquisition, a popular blogging platform called TNC, which has approximately 400,000 users, including a majority of Korea’s top bloggers (per VentureBeat). The site's founder and CEO Chang-Won Kim said that he thought Google bought the company to boost its "minor" market share in Korea, the sixth largest internet market. The rumored potential acquisition is Washington-based computer games developer Valve, which owns Steam an online gaming distribution platform. Early last year Google acquired in-game advertising company Adscape [...]


Google Sells Off Performics To Publicis Groupe

SmartMoney reports that Google has sold off the search marketing division of DoubleClick, Performics, to a French company named Publicis Groupe. When Google purchased DoubleClick, they acquired Performics with it. Google promised to sell off the Performics division, due to the conflict of interest in owning such a company. Today, they sold it to Publicis Groupe. It is actually interesting that they sold it to Publicis Groupe. Google has partnered with Publicis in the past to "expand in the fast-growing digital advertising market . . . [and that] Google would exchange its technological kn [...]


Rumor: Google To Buy Digg For $200 Million?

There are ways in which Digg is like YouTube: it's the "brand" in a competitive "social news" segment that also features Yahoo Buzz, AOL's Propeller, MySpace News, Reddit, Ask Big News and, by some counts, more than 80 others. Similarly, YouTube was the "brand" in a crowded video segment when Google acquired the company. Digg has more or less been for sale for months and rumors have been circulating that either Google or Microsoft would buy the company. Now TechCrunch is reporting that Digg is close to selling for $200 million to Google. That compares with the originally rumored $300 millio [...]


Google Buys Russian Contextual Ad Service For $140 Million

Google announced that it had acquired "Begun," a Russian contextual ad service, for $140 million. The service had been a unit of Russia's Rambler Media. Rambler also owns the Russian portal Rambler.ru. As part of the deal, Google-enhanced search results and ads will appear on the Rambler portal site. According to Reuters, Rambler expects annual growth of online ad revenues to be 50 and to reach $1 billion by 2010. The acquisition makes sense given that there's more growth opportunity now in non-US markets. International revenues now make up just over 50 percent of total ad revenues. From Go [...]


What Happens After Google Buys A Company?

Many people have posed the question: why does Google seem to often fail to efficiently integrate or develop companies and properties it has acquired? Early mobile social network DodgeBall is the most obvious example of a promising startup acquired by Google that has languished. But as TechCrunchIT points out, there are others and, more specifically, often a long delay between the time of a company's acquisition and its "re-emergence" with a Google identity. Citing YouTube as an exception to such integration delays, the TechCrunch post speculates that it's because the acquired company's engin [...]


Google Selling Performics — Thanks, Google!

Last month, I did an open letter to Google wishing they'd quickly sell off Performics, to avoid the conflict of having a search marketing firm that works to improve results on Google's own search engine. Well, thank you Google! They've acted far more quickly than I would have hoped for, announcing today that the company will be splitting Performics into two separate companies (affiliate marketing and search marketing) and selling the search marketing business off. Now to see if Microsoft will do the right thing and make a similar move with Avenue A/Razorfish, as I covered in my open letter an [...]


Open Letter To Google: Do The Right Thing, Divest Yourself Of Performics

At long last, Google owns DoubleClick. In doing so, the company has done something else that many people would have never believed possible. Become an SEO. That's right -- Google's in the SEO business now, selling services through DoubleClick's Performics to people who want to rank well on -- um -- Google. Conflict of interest? You bet. And worse from an image perspective, the purchase puts Google in the paid inclusion business, something it dissed as evil back in 2004, when it went public. Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely no problem with Performics as a company and have good friends that [...]


Google: It’s Official, We Own DoubleClick

With the EU's blessing, Google has finally acquired DoubleClick after nearly a year in trying. Google has blogged that the acquisition has been completed, with CEO Eric Schmidt saying: Integration work can now begin, with detailed plans to come   There may be a "reduction in headcount" as Google matches DoubleClick employees to the existing Google business structure, a task expected to conclude by early April   Google now feels it can offer better display ad options to customers asking for this   Google feels that the combination will mean more relevant display ads t [...]


EU Approves Google-DoubleClick Acquisition

The European Commission has approved the Google's acquisition of DoubleClick, valued at $3.1 billion. The EU started their investigation in November 2007. The commission found that the "transaction would be unlikely to have harmful effects on consumers, either in ad serving or in intermediation in online advertising markets." This is excellent news for Google, and as you can see, GOOG stock has seen an increase based on the news. There is more coverage on the EU news at Techmeme. You can also find our past coverage of the Google-DoubleClick acquisition in our Google acquisitions archives [...]


Google Expects To Be “Very Significant” In Display Ad Segment

Display advertising currently represents about 32 percent of total US online advertising, according to the IAB. That's roughly $6.7 billion. Google already dominates the roughly $8.5 billion US search market. But Google's Tim Armstrong told the Bear Stearns Media Conference in Palm Beach, Florida yesterday that Google expects, in the not-too-distant future, to have a "very significant" position in online display advertising, and if the company didn't achieve that he would be "very disappointed." Armstrong added, according to Dow Jones, that Google's platform "will evolve over time so that it [...]


Google May Buy Ukrainian Portal

The Quintura Blog repeats a rumor that Google may be poised to buy the Ukrainian portal Bigmir.net, the leading Ukrainian destination site with 2.5 million users. Quintura speculates the deal might be worth $100 million and says online advertising in the Ukraine was worth an estimated $12 million in 2007. If it were true, Google would likely displace Russian search engine Yandex, which currently provides results for Bigmir. [...]


Rumor: Google To Acquire Plaxo

Wired says that Google is rumored to be buying Plaxo for roughly $200 million. The company was founded in 2001 as a tool to manage contacts and users' email address books ("your address book for life"). Its aggressive customer acquisition strategy (read: spam) alienated many would-be users. Plaxo has been more restrained in the recent past and has tried to reinvent itself as a social network with the launch of Pulse last summer. If the rumor is true, Google would likely integrate Plaxo functionality into its Docs suite of applications aimed at enterprise users. By contrast, Pulse could be j [...]


Google-DoubleClick Drama Moves To European Stage

Much of the discussion and debate in the U.S. over Google's proposed acquisition of DoubleClick was about the impact of the deal on consumer privacy, even though that wasn't technically part of the anti-trust analysis before the FTC. Accordingly, the FTC approved the acquisition with one commissioner dissenting largely on privacy grounds. Now, Pamela Jones Harbour, the FTC commissioner who dissented, will testify before the European Parliament committee on civil liberties about her concerns and rationale. Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, will als [...]


FTC’s Xmas Gift To Google: Approval Of DoubleClick Acquisition

The US Federal Trade Commission has granted its approval for Google to purchase DoubleClick. Google has a press release up with the news (and see also here), and the FTC announcement is here. The many parties have raised privacy issues with the deal, and the FTC noted this was not germane to its approval: Although interested parties have raised concerns about the proposed acquisition’s impact on consumer privacy, the Commission observed that such issues are "not unique to Google and DoubleClick," and "extend to the entire online advertising marketplace." The Commissioners further wrote th [...]


Privacy Emerges As Major US, EU Issue In DoubleClick Acquistion Review

Despite the fact that regulators are supposed to scrutinize the potential anti-competitive dimensions of the pending acquisition of DoubleClick by Google, privacy has sneaked into the debate as a major issue on both sides of the Atlantic. It almost threatens to overshadow the antitrust considerations, which are the heart and purpose of the regulatory review process. Indeed, privacy isn't even relevant to the FTC's analysis. In Europe the discretion of regulators may well be broader, allowing them to consider a wider range of issues than simply the impact on competition in the market for onli [...]


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