It seems every time I pulled up VentureBeat in the past couple weeks there’s been a new article about a Google move. Even though Google (GOOG) is trading near its all time high at around $1200, its array of recent acquisitions indicates it’s still got a lot of room to grow in a variety of areas. Let’s break down wheres it’s been expanding recently.
- Enterprise services
Google is making a sizable investment in its app for business users. In Google’s words, “Google Apps is a cloud-based productivity suite that helps you and your team connect and get work done from anywhere on any device.” According to a recent blog post, they are offering users $15 for every individual they get to sign up as long as as they pay for at least 120 days of use. They don’t limit the number of referrals either. That’s not too far off of Facebook’s valuation of WhatsApp users at $42 each.
- Retail Stores
Google may soon be opening a retail location in SoHo, NY. While it has a few retail sites in Australia and Europe, this would mark its first U.S. store. Funnily, if it winds up where it’s expected on Greene St, it’ll be right by Apple’s SoHo store. A retail store opening would cement Google’s increasing emphasis on hardware, including its Chromebook, Nest, and Google Glass.
Speaking of Google Glass, Google is shoring up its wearables offerings. Google is making it easier for lots of wearables to run on the Android operating system. How generous of them. In about two weeks it’s releasing an Android software-development kit (SDK) for wearable devices. This would allow Android (owned by Google) apps to run on a number of wearables, not just on Google Glass.
- Mobile gaming and TV Box
Google recently confirmed its purchase of Green Throttle Games, the semi-failed gaming startup that co-created Guitar Hero. Google was specifically interested in what Green Throttle was trying to do with Android gaming. It has a controller that hooks up to Android phones and tablets wirelessly, and if you hook up your Android device to your TV it also makes it a gaming console. Similar to the glasses, Google also developed an SDK so developers could make their games compatible with the controller. Sounds like Google is using this acquisition to jump on the mobile gaming bandwagon. This acquisition also fuels the rumors of Google developing an Android set-top box for TVs (similar to Apple TV).
- Consumer Finance
Today Google announced an $85M investment in the consumer finance company Credit Karma, essentially a credit monitoring service. This acquisition is one of the many investments made by Google Capital recently, a Venture Capital-esque firm formed last year. Credit Karma said Wednesday it experienced rapid growth in the past year, with triple-digit percentage growth in site membership, revenue and head count. This doesn’t surprise me at all given all of the credit card breaches everywhere from Target to Neiman Marcus. Credit card monitoring is going to be a hot service for the near future.