Google is on a shopping spree – what does it mean for Android?
In addition to that exaggeratedly priced $12.5 billion Motorola acquisition, which has been recently approved by Chinese regulators – the last obstacle Google had to overcome to go through with the merger – Google has made a variety of much cheaper acquisitions lately. But to what end? What is Google planning? Are these recent purchases related to Android? Are the related to Google+ or other Google products?
Since Android is a core product for Google’s long-term business strategy – but so is Google+ for that matter – it’s easy to assume that any purchase the company is making is somehow related to either product, if not both. So let’s get a little more familiar with some of the companies acquired by Google in the recent months.
Just a few days ago we heard that Google decided to buy QuickOffice, the developer that makes the productivity app that has the same name, in order to further enhance its own Google Apps.
In case you’re not aware of what QuickOffice has to offer, you’ll have to know that the company developed some popular productivity apps for various mobile platforms that let smart mobile device owners manage Microsoft documents right on their smartphones and/or tablets. We’re not surprised to see Google acquire the company, as the search giant has its own well-established interests to push forward, such as Google Apps and Google Drive, online services that target both regular consumers and enterprises.
The purchase should be good news for Android users, as we’d expect to see QuickOffice functionality integrated in future OS versions.
Instant messaging fanatics are probably very familiar with Meebo, a versatile web-based tool that has support for multiple standalone IM services. And Google has high hopes for this service, which has reportedly cost the company $100 million.
Is Google interested in incorporating Meebo in Google+, and therefore into Android, or is the company more attracted to Meebo’s impressive user base and its advertising potential? After all, Meebo has evolved into a social platform with lots of sharing and advertising capabilities, which would fit perfectly with Google’s main interest – generating more ad-based revenue quarter after quarter, revenue that can be further used to develop various other Google products and online services.
Kikscore is not as famous as QuickOffice or Meebo, but the startup has managed to attract the attention of the corporation with its ecommerce site-rating platform. Although it was initially rumored that Google purchased the startup in order to shut it down and avoid potential competition, it appears that the search giant was only interested in buying certain patents owned by Kikscore.
The startup’s product will not continue to exist as an independent entity, as its customers are apparently instructed to try Google’s Trusted Store product instead. We expect Google to use the patents it acquired from Kikscore to further improve its own products. Not to mention that a service that can rate sites, or any other we-related stuff, could definitely be included in Google+ and Android.
Magnolia Broadband patents
Magnolia Broadband owns 28 patents and has submitted 24 more which have not been awarded yet. The word on the street is that Google has either purchased some of them or all of them, with the second version being the most probable outcome. As you expect, these are mobile patents that should help Google further down the road, either when deploying new Android technology and/or when defending its mobile OS from various patent-based attacks.
What’s worth mentioning about Magnolia Broadband is that the company owns at least one patent on a piece of interesting technology called “beamforming” that we may soon see become part of our mobile environment. Beamforming is an antenna-related data transfer technology that could help smartphone and tablet manufacturers and carriers double data transfer speeds without sacrificing battery life in the process.
Since LTE is a power-hungry communication standard, at least for some of the current devices that support it, we wouldn’t be surprised to see device manufactures further explore beamforming tech in order to improve the battery life of their future devices while simultaneously improving data speeds.
Mike and Maaike
Mike and Maaike is an industrial design company that has been also purchased by Google, but the interesting thing about Mike and Maaike is that it has designed the first Android phone in the world, the G1, made by HTC and released by T-Mobile in 2008. The company is a small husband and wife establishment whose main project so far was the G1. Considering that Google will soon launch its own Motorola smartphones and tablets, it makes sense to imagine that Mike and Maaike would work on some of Google’s upcoming hardware design.
In other words, the Mike and Maaike acquisition seems to have been made exactly in order to help Android down the road.
Google bought mobile payment company TxVia back in April, a service that’s already used by over 100 million users, and which could further complement Google Wallet, Google’s NFC-based wireless payment service that’s available on certain (but unfortunately too few) smartphones.
Google Wallet is yet to see the widespread adoption Google initially hoped for, and it may be a while until the service becomes a popular payment alternative for mobile device owners. That’s especially because Google Wallet has various rivals out there, including PayPal, Square, Isis Mobile Wallet, and others – even Apple is rumored to drift away from NFC when it comes to mobile payments..
Therefore, the TxVia acquisition may help Google regain some of the lost momentum of Google Wallet. And we wouldn’t be wrong to label this purchase as an investment into the future of Android.
We have no way of knowing what’s next in store for Google, and we could very well be wrong when speculating about the purpose of any of the Google acquisitions mentioned above. But it certainly looks like Google is on a roll when it comes to buying new companies. We shouldn’t be surprised to see the search giant make additional purchases in the future, which would help it improve its current products and web services and even add new ones.
Should any of the tech acquired from the companies mentioned above be used in future Android versions, starting with Android 5.0 Jelly Bean and thereafter, we’ll certainly be there to further detail how it all works for you.