Google is known as the “search giant” because of its search, but the company is much more than that and their services span from search, Android, Gmail, YouTube, Maps, online office tools, messaging platform, and much, much more. But in order to become what they are now and, most important, for Alphabet to come alive, the company has acquired a lot of smaller businesses and startups, and some of their services are now wrapped up in Google making it difficult to know where they came from. We all know where Android and YouTube came from but have you ever wondered where Google Photos or Google Earth originated? If so, check out the list of some of Google’s company purchases.
1 – Picasa
This one is a bit obvious, but here it is. Picasa was acquired back in 2004 and worked as a standalone service with the same name for years. However, more recently, it became a part of Google+ Photos and now it is Google Photos, an amazing service that allows you to store unlimited photos and take advantage of Google’s magic search and image processing technology.
2 – Keyhole
Keyhole was a digital mapping service and was also bought in 2004, just like Picasa, becoming what you know as Google Earth.
3 – Dodgeball
This one you can say it backfired. Google acquired the company in 2005, which was a location-based social network. It didn’t work out very well for the original team and the founders quit Google to start their own company, known as Foursquare. Dodgeball was discontinued in 2009, being replaced by Google Latitude, which was then shut down in 2013, and you can have similar features in Google+.
4 – Postini
Postini was an e-mail, web security and archiving platform, providing cloud-computing services for filtering e-mails, spam and malware. It was bought back in 2007 for $625 million and their services worked until last year when it was integrated onto Google Apps. Gmail has an amazing filtering system that puts non-important emails on separate categories, so, who knows this technology came from Postini too.
5 – Grand Central
Grand Central was a phone routing company that provided a single phone number for anything you needed. After being bought for $45 million in 2007, it became known as Google Voice.
6 – Slide
Slide was a social tool for MySpace and then Orkut. Bought for $182 million + $46 million for employees, its fate is unknown since both platforms died.
7 – Next News Network (NNN)
NNN was bought in 2011, offering high-quality original video content, paving the way for YouTube Creator and the huge amount of channels with great and original content on the network.
8 – Nik Software
Nik Software was the company behind Snapseed, a great and free photo editor from Google, available for Android and iOS. Bought in 2012, Snapseed still exists today and was recently completely revamped. As for the original team, they are currently working on Google Photos.
9 – Wavii
Launched in 2008, Wavii was bought by Google for $30 million in 2013, forming the basis for Knowledge Graph, a knowledge base used by Google to enhance its search results through semantic search results obtained from several sources – the information cards you see on top of some search results, such as famous people, places, companies, etc.
10 – Bump
Bump was a breeze on a hot day for users that wanted to send files between different platforms – the problem there was always iOS. You can’t simply fire up Bluetooth to send a photo from your Android phone to a friend with an iPhone. Bump’s technology allowed it to be done by just bumping both phones together. The company was bought in 2013 and the service was shut down right after. There’s no news on where the technology is being used, but the team has been working on Google Photos.
This is just a peek of what has become of a few companies Google acquired, showing how the search giant integrates its purchases into their products and services. Since they were born, Google has bought 184 companies and this is just a small portion of that. With the rise of Alphabet, we will likely be seeing a lot more companies coming to life through acquisitions like these, which will span from internet and cloud services to smart homes, IoT devices and more.