Banking

2011: The Year in Google acquisitions - which ones mattered for big business

Adam Metz examines the 2011 Google acquisitions that matter to the enterprise now as well as those that will matter later.

One year, 24 acquisitions. What's up with that? Well, Google's had their busiest acquisition year, ever. The big ones stand out clearly, like the $12B Motorola acquisition, and the finally-finalized $400M AdMeld acquisition, which became legit last June.

Today, we take a look at the ones that will actually matter to enterprise business, at least anytime soon. Google tends to acquire U.S.-based companies and overwhelmingly San Francisco Bay Area companies, but this year, there were a few unlikely candidates as well, including Germany's über-Groupon Daily Deal and Canada's mobile entertainment brand PushLife.

Let's break them into three categories: The Big Ones, Surprise, and Class of 2013 (i.e. the ones that won't be making a big impact anytime soon).

The Big Ones

1. Motorola Mobility: This one's pretty obvious. As Google's largest-ever acquisition, it serves to fight directly against what Google CEO Larry Page calls "companies including Microsoft and Apple...banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android". 2. AdMeld: This acquisition firmly cements Google's place in the display advertising market, and shows much of the logic behind the 2007 DoubleClick acquisitions. AdMeld was the missing publisher-side piece (can you say "yield optimization?"). Since Google had already acquired the demand-side piece (Invite Media), the advertiser-side piece (DoubleClick), in The Invite Media acquisition was somewhat overshadowed by the much-larger DoubleClick acquisition.

But it raised red flags in the advertising space about the conflict of interest between Google and advertising agencies, as the linked GigaOm article states. The issue with Invite was that it creates a strange situation for advertisers who are not (and don't plan on becoming) DoubleClick for Advertisers customers. Many advertisers want to continue benefitting from Invite Media's platform, without locking in to DoubleClick. "Invite Media's platform will of course continue to be available to any agency or advertiser, whether they use DFA or not," said, Google VP of Product Management Neal Mohan, in the GigaOm article, last summer. Over a year later, Invite seems to be running independently.

Surprise!

1. Zagats: I know what you're thinking - "Enterprise business and Zagats - who cares?" Well, if you work in the enterprise side of the $100B+ hospitality industry, you care. When Google made this surprising move, they sought a reputable content partner to combat their nemesis in local, Yelp, who they tried to acquire, unsuccessfully, in late 2009 for $550M. Also, remember that all of the Google Maps users need a solid place to find local review content - and while Zagat's content is not 100% integrated with Google Maps, it's linked directly from it. Look for a tighter integration in 2012. 2. eBook Technologies: Big publishing, meet Big Google. Until 2011, Google was a bit-player in the ebook space. eBooks became a near half-billion dollar industry in 2011. Who knew?

Class Of 2013

1. Zynamics: They're a small security analytics company that makes reverse engineering tools for offensive and defensive security. Expect to see it used to fight malware across Google's platforms. CTO's who are worried about malware in the cloud should definitely look over the Zynamics suite of products. 2. PostRank: I've been a fan of this small social media software company since 2007 - the one critical missing piece in Google's advertiser arsenal (and much of their video assets) was deep-tissue social media monitoring and engagement measurement. Hopefully their offering will be integrated into the core of Google Plus, YouTube, and other Google social services, over the next 12 months.

About

Adam Metz is the VP of Business Development at Metz Consulting the social concept, a social customer management-consulting firm, based in Oakland, California. Metz has consulted with companies since 2006 on how to acquire, manage, monetize and retain...

1 comments
Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Now, that we are seeing a definite strategic plan from Google, what do you think it means for businesses?