13 companies Google gobbled up in 2013 and 2014

As it acquires London-based DeepMind for $400m

It’s just the 28th of January and Google has already spent over $4bn acquiring hot tech companies throughout the world.

Just yesterday, it bought London-based artificial intelligence firm DeepMind, shelling out a whopping $400m for a firm founded less than two years ago.

From robot manufacturers to alarm clock app makers, Google is gobbling everything. Could its acquisition spree be part of some bigger plan to become the most powerful tech giant in the world? Well that’s a debate for another article.

For now, take a look at the companies Google has snapped up in 2013 and 2014 so far…

1. DeepMind

Price: $400m

When: 26 January, 2014

This London-based artificial intelligence firm was Google’s biggest European acquisition to date. Founders of the firm are 37-year-old neuroscientist and former teenage chess prodigy Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman. Google purchased this company for its speciality in creating algorithms.

2. Impermium

Price: Unknown

When: January 2014

In 2011, ex-Yahoo employees Vish Ramarao, Naveen Jamal and Mark Risher set up Impermium to build security products for websites. They set up an office in Bangalore and one in California to gather over 300,000 clients, including Tumblr, Pinterest, CNN and ESPN.

In a statement, CEO and co-founder Mark Risher said: “By joining Google, our team will merge with some of the best abuse fighters in the world. With our combined talents, we’ll be able to further our mission and help make the internet a safer place. We’re excited about the possibilities.”

3. Nest Labs

Price: $3.2bn

When: January 2014

Nest Labs was Google’s second-biggest acquisition after Motorola. It was widely speculated that Apple would swoop in on this one first as Nest founder Tony Fadell is the guy who was involved in designing the iPod.

Nest makes “smart” thermostats and smoke alarms that can be controlled through smartphones. Google had its eye on Nest as it wanted to cash in on the growing “internet of things” trend.

Read: 6 reasons Google just made its second-biggest acquisition, buying Nest for $3.2bn

4. Bitspin

Price: Unknown

When: January 2014

Bitspin is behind the Android alarm clock app Timely. The Swiss firm and Google kept very hush-hush about the deal with the terms not being disclosed. Rumours were rife that Google may kill off the company but Bitspin later confirmed that the formerly paid-for app would be available for free on the Google Play Store.

5. Boston Dynamics

Price: Unknown

December 2013

Boston Dynamics was the eighth robotics company Google purchased in 2013. The company makes futuristic military-grade robots including the galloping “WildCat” and the Sandflea, which can jump more than nine metres into the air.

Other robotic masterpieces from Boston Dynamics include Big Dog, a four-legged robot that can climb muddy hills, and Cheetah, a robot which can run faster than the fastest human.

Now what do you think Google intends to do with these robot makers? Tweet us your thoughts @Londonlovesbiz

6. Schaft

Price: $20m

When: November 2013

Google has always had a thing for robot makers so this deal was not surprising. Founded in 2012, Schaft is a Japanese robot maker that focuses on producing disaster response robots to help in catastrophes suach as the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The company’s 95kg two-legged robot came first in a competition hosted by the U.S. Department of Defense’s research unit. The contest included putting robots through difficult tasks including driving a utility vehicle along a course and climbing an 8ft-high (2.4m) ladder.

7. FlexyCore

Price: $23m

When: October 2013

French tech star Flexycore gained popularity in the tech world for its “droidbooster,” an app that claimed to make an Android device run “ten times faster”.

“The FlexyCore team has strong expertise in building software to optimize Android device performance, and we think they’d be a great fit with our team,” Google said in a statement.

8. Bump Technologies

Price: Between $30m and $60m reportedly

When: September 2013

Google bumped off apps made by Bump Technologies from Google Play after acquiring it in September last year. The reasons for shutting its file smartphone file-sharing app Bump and location app Flock weren’t divulged.

In a blog post Bump co-founder and chief executive David Lieb said:  “We are now deeply focused on our new projects within Google, and we’ve decided to discontinue Bump and Flock.”

9. Flutter

Price: Undisclosed

When: October 2013

Flutter, a gesture recognition start-up, is quite in sync with Google’s philosophy. The app was seen as being very futuristic as it used a webcam to detect hand gestures and let users control applications like Spotify and Netflix without touching the mouse.

“We share Google’s passion for 10x thinking, and we’re excited to add their rocket fuel to our journey,” Navneet Dalal, Flutter’s CEO, wrote on the company website at the time.

10. WIMM Labs

Price: Undisclosed

When: August 2013

News that Google had acquires WIMM labs hit headlines only in August 2013 but the search giant has bought this Californian start-up a year before. The reason Google has kept mum about this purchase was because it is known to be developing its own smartwatch to compete with Samsung’s smartwatch.

11. Waze

Price: $1.3bn

When: June 2013

Google bought Waze in June last year to improve its maps using Waze’s traffic updates features. In a blog post, Brian McClendon, Google vice president, wrote:

“We’ve all been there: stuck in traffic, frustrated that you chose the wrong route on the drive to work. But imagine if you could see real-time traffic updates from friends and fellow travellers ahead of you, calling out ‘fender bender … totally stuck in left lane!’ and showing faster routes that others are taking.”

12. Wavii

Price: $30m

When: June 2013

This was another company that both Apple and Google were courting. But in June 2013, Google called dibs and bought this natural language processing start-up for $30m.

The Seattle-based start-up’s 25 employees, including founder Adrian Aoun, joined Google’s knowledge graph division.

13. Talaria

Price: $30m

When: June 2013

Now we all know that’s in the tech world these days, it’s all about the clouds. So, web application server Talaria was a  good fit for Google to help it enhance its cloud platform.

Speaking about the acquisition, Google said at the time: “The Talaria team has developed cutting-edge technology that helps people build and run websites more efficiently, and we think they’ll be a great addition to our Google Cloud Platforms team.”

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