Google Maps and Waze, outsmarting traffic together

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 travelers ahead of you, calling out “fender bender...totally stuck in left lane!” and showing faster routes that others are taking.

To help you outsmart traffic, today we’re excited to announce we’ve closed the acquisition of Waze. This fast-growing community of traffic-obsessed drivers is working together to find the best routes from home to work, every day.

The Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately for now. We’re excited about the prospect of enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google’s search capabilities.

We’ll also work closely with the vibrant Waze community, who are the DNA of this app, to ensure they have what’s needed to grow and prosper.

The Waze community and its dedicated team have created a great source of timely road corrections and updates. We welcome them to Google and look forward to working with them in our ongoing effort to make a comprehensive, accurate and useful map of the world.

Sparking a better conversation with Wildfire

Businesses around the world—from neighborhood restaurants to major retailers—are embracing social media to share information and forge stronger relationships with their fans and customers. We know because we are one of those businesses—on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Indeed, a social presence can complement all marketing campaigns—search, display, video, mobile, offline ads and more.

With this in mind, today we’re happy to share that the Wildfire team will be joining Google. Their co-founders, Victoria Ransom and Alain Chuard, launched their startup just four years ago. Since then, they and their team have built a service that helps businesses like Virgin, Cirque du Soleil, Gilt Group and Spotify manage their social efforts across numerous social websites. It’s a platform for brands to manage their pages, apps, tweets, videos, sponsorships, ads, promotions and more, all in one place.

The ultimate goal is better and fresher content, and more meaningful interactions. People today can make their voices heard in ways that were previously impossible, and Wildfire helps businesses uphold their end of the conversation (or spark a new one).

In a complex and changing landscape, businesses want to manage and measure these efforts in an integrated way. We’ve been working towards this end for some time. For example, Google Analytics helps businesses measure the contribution of hundreds of social sites; our Admeld service has helped to serve ads in Facebook developers’ social apps; and our DoubleClick platform enables clients to run and measure ads across social websites. On Google+, brands use services like Vitrue, Buddy Media and others to manage their pages, with many more to come.

With Wildfire, we’re looking forward to creating new opportunities for our clients to engage with people across all social services. We believe that better content and more seamless solutions will help unlock the full potential of the web for people and businesses.

Update August 15, 2012: Our acquisition of Wildfire has now closed.

Google + Quickoffice = get more done anytime, anywhere

We're happy to announce that we have acquired Quickoffice, a leader in office productivity solutions.

Today, consumers, businesses and schools use Google Apps to get stuff done from anywhere, with anyone and on any device. Quickoffice has an established track record of enabling seamless interoperability with popular file formats, and we'll be working on bringing their powerful technology to our Apps product suite.

Quickoffice has a strong base of users, and we look forward to supporting them while we work on an even more seamless, intuitive and integrated experience.

We're excited to welcome the Quickoffice team and their users to Google.

We’ve acquired Motorola Mobility

The phones in our pockets have become supercomputers that are changing the way we live. It’s now possible to do things we used to think were magic, or only possible on Star Trek—like get directions right from where we are standing; watch a video on YouTube; or take a picture and share the moment instantly with friends.

It’s why I’m excited to announce today that our Motorola Mobility deal has closed. Motorola is a great American tech company that has driven the mobile revolution, with a track record of over 80 years of innovation, including the creation of the first cell phone. We all remember Motorola’s StarTAC, which at the time seemed tiny and showed the real potential of these devices. And as a company who made a big, early bet on Android, Motorola has become an incredibly valuable partner to Google.

Sanjay Jha, who was responsible for building the company and placing that big bet on Android, has stepped down as CEO. I would like to thank him for his efforts and am tremendously pleased that he will be working to ensure a smooth transition as long-time Googler Dennis Woodside takes over as CEO of Motorola Mobility.

I’ve known Dennis for nearly a decade, and he’s been phenomenal at building teams and delivering on some of Google’s biggest bets. One of his first jobs at Google was to put on his backpack and build our businesses across the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia. More recently he helped increase our revenue in the U.S. from $10.8 billion to $17.5 billion in under three years as President of the Americas region. Dennis has always been a committed partner to our customers and I know he will be an outstanding leader of Motorola. As an Ironman triathlete, he’s got plenty of energy for the journey ahead—and he’s already off to great start with some very strong new hires for the Motorola team.

It’s a well known fact that people tend to overestimate the impact technology will have in the short term, but underestimate its significance in the longer term. Many users coming online today may never use a desktop machine, and the impact of that transition will be profound—as will the ability to just tap and pay with your phone. That’s why it’s a great time to be in the mobile business, and why I’m confident Dennis and the team at Motorola will be creating the next generation of mobile devices that will improve lives for years to come.

European Commission clears Motorola deal

We’re happy that today the European Commission approved our proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility, which we announced in August. This is an important milestone in the approval process and it moves us closer to closing the deal. We are now just waiting for decisions from a few other jurisdictions before we can close this transaction.

As we outlined in August, the combination of Google and Motorola Mobility will help supercharge Android. It will also enhance competition and offer consumers faster innovation, greater choice and wonderful user experiences.

Update February 13, 2012, 2:00pm: The U.S. Department of Justice has also announced that it has closed its investigation of this acquisition.

Take a walk on the sell-side

In June, we announced that we are acquiring Admeld, a New York-based company that helps large publishers (also known as the “sell-side” by people, like me, who live and breathe display advertising) maximize their revenues from online advertising. We’re pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice has today cleared this deal. We’ll close the acquisition in the coming days and then start the real work—building improved products and services that help our publisher partners to make more informed decisions across all their ad space, and to grow their revenues.

The opportunity for major online publishers is huge...and growing. People are spending more and more time consuming online content across numerous devices, advertisers are running more online and mobile campaigns to reach them; and ads continue to get more engaging and relevant. This represents an unprecedented moment for publishers. We believe that improved technology and services can help publishers seize it and make online advertising work much better.

For now, it’s business as usual—Admeld’s products will operate separately to Google’s existing solutions (such as DoubleClick for Publishers and the DoubleClick Ad Exchange). But over time, there are opportunities to bring the best of both businesses together in a variety of ways; and to develop entirely new solutions, too.

As we do this, Admeld and Google are guided by some core shared beliefs:
  • We want to give publishers more control over their ad space, and offer more flexible ways to manage and sell it. Publishers’ businesses should influence the technology they use; not the other way around
  • We believe that publishers can make better decisions to maximize their revenues when they have better insights at their fingertips
  • We envisage a much simpler system that enables publishers to manage and sell their ad space—across desktop, video, mobile, tablets and more
The content produced by Google’s and Admeld’s publisher partners is the lifeblood of the Internet. We can’t wait to start building the next generation of tools and services that will help them grow their businesses.

Update December 6, 2011: Our acquisition of Admeld has now closed.

(Cross-posted on the DoubleClick Publisher Blog)

Google just got ZAGAT Rated!

“Did you know there's a place in Menlo Park near the Safeway that has a 27 food rating?” one of my friends asked me that about two years ago, and I was struck because I immediately knew what it meant. Food rating... 30 point scale... Zagat. And the place... had to be good. With no other context, I instantly recognized and trusted Zagat's review and recommendation.

So, today, I'm thrilled that Google has acquired Zagat. Moving forward, Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering—delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world.

With Zagat, we gain a world-class team that has more experience in consumer based-surveys, recommendations and reviews than anyone else in the industry. Founded by Tim and Nina Zagat more than 32 years ago, Zagat has established a trusted and well-loved brand the world over, operating in 13 categories and more than 100 cities. The Zagats have demonstrated their ability to innovate and to do so with tremendous insight. Their surveys may be one of the earliest forms of UGC (user-generated content)—gathering restaurant recommendations from friends, computing and distributing ratings before the Internet as we know it today even existed. Their iconic pocket-sized guides with paragraphs summarizing and “snippeting” sentiment were “mobile” before “mobile” involved electronics. Today, Zagat provides people with a democratized, authentic and comprehensive view of where to eat, drink, stay, shop and play worldwide based on millions of reviews and ratings.

For all of these reasons, I'm incredibly excited to collaborate with Zagat to bring the power of Google search and Google Maps to their products and users, and to bring their innovation, trusted reputation and wealth of experience to our users.

(BTW, Kaygetsu, the place in Menlo Park, definitely lives up to its 27 food rating!)

Helping publishers get the most from display advertising with Admeld

(Cross-posted on the DoubleClick Publisher Blog)

It’s now clear that investments in new technologies, new ad formats and improved buying and selling processes are helping to grow the display advertising pie. This benefits publishers who make more money from display ads, users who receive free ad-funded content and marketers who are able to grow their businesses online.

However, we often hear from major website publishers that ad management today is still mind-numbingly complicated and inefficient. We’ve been investing in our publisher tools to try and improve this landscape and have made great progress, but we think we can do even better. To help major publishers get the most out of the rapidly changing and growing display ad landscape, we’ve signed an agreement to acquire Admeld, a New York-based yield optimization firm.

Here’s a basic summary of the display ad industry, from the perspective of major publishers. There are lots of different ways that they can sell their display ad space. Often, they’ll sell space directly to advertisers or agencies, using an ad server to actually deliver and measure the ads (like Microsoft’s Atlas, AOL’s AdTech, DoubleClick's DFP, Yahoo’s APT, OpenX, Zedo, 24/7 Real Media and others). Alternatively, they’ll make their ad space available indirectly—to hundreds of ad networks (like, Specific Media, Collective, 24/7, ValueClick, Vibrant, AdSense, Undertone and others), each with thousands of advertisers, or to various advertising exchanges or technology platforms (like Yahoo’s Right Media, OpenX, DoubleClick Ad Exchange, ContextWeb, AdBrite, AppNexus and others) that match them with ad buyers (like ad networks and demand side platforms) who represent advertisers, in real-time marketplaces.

Some publishers also work with a “yield optimization” provider (such as Rubicon Project, Pubmatic and others) that supplies technology to select ads from across these many indirect options, while providing personalized service and support. In a very complex and rapidly growing display ad landscape, that’s what Admeld does.

Providing better ad management services to publishers is an area that has seen a huge amount of investment in recent months. Formed just over three years ago, the Admeld team is an example of the huge strides the industry is making—it has quickly developed a great service that is helping many major publishers manage their ad space more efficiently and profitably.

By combining Admeld’s services, expertise and technology with Google’s offerings, we’re investing in what we hope will be an improved era of flexible ad management tools for major publishers. Together with Admeld, we hope to make display advertising simpler, more efficient and more valuable, provide improved support and services, and enable publishers to make more informed decisions across all their ad space. These are all things our publisher partners have been asking us to further invest in. Of course, Admeld will continue to support other ad networks, demand side platforms, exchanges and ad servers, to yield the best possible results for publishers.

We believe that this investment will be an important step to help online publishers, and will further improve and grow the display advertising industry as a whole.

ITA Software acquisition cleared for takeoff

How cool would it be if you could type "flights to somewhere sunny for under $500 in May" into Google and get not just a set of links but also flight times, fares and a link to sites where you can actually buy tickets quickly and easily? Well that's exactly why we announced our intention to buy ITA Software, a Cambridge, Mass.-based company that specializes in organizing airline data last July—and we're excited that the U.S. Department of Justice today approved our acquisition.

It’s important to us that ITA continue with business as usual, providing great service to its business partners. We indicated last July that we would honor ITA’s existing contracts. Today we’ve formally committed to let ITA’s customers extend their contracts into 2016. We've also agreed to let both current and new customers license ITA’s QPX software on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms” into 2016—along with related commitments aimed at making ITA’s technology available to other travel sites.

We’re moving to close this acquisition as soon as possible, and then we’ll start the important work of bringing our teams and products together. We’re confident that by combining ITA’s expertise with Google’s technology we’ll be able to develop exciting new flight search tools for all our users. Up, up and away!

Update April 12, 2011: Our acquisition of ITA has now closed.

On demand is in demand: we’ve agreed to acquire Widevine

With rapidly improving broadband and wireless speeds, more powerful smartphones, and higher resolution screens on devices of all shapes and sizes, it’s becoming easier than ever to watch video wherever you want, whenever you want. And while it’s still fun to pull an old movie off the shelf and throw it in the DVD player, streaming is rapidly becoming the standard way for you to find the content you want to watch now. We’ve seen this on YouTube—where we get over 2 billion views every day—but it’s much bigger than that, as proven by the increasing popularity of movie subscription services and tablets.

Content creators and distributors are making huge strides in bringing us content in this way, but to do so, many require high-quality video and audio, secure delivery, and other content protection and video optimization technologies. With these tools in place they can easily and effectively give you access to the rich library of content you want to watch, with the immediacy you’ve come to expect.

So we’re pleased to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Widevine. The Widevine team has worked to provide a better video delivery experience for businesses of all kinds: from the studios that create your favorite shows and movies, to the cable systems and channels that broadcast them online and on TV, to the hardware manufacturers that let you watch that content on a variety of devices. By forging partnerships across the entire ecosystem, Widevine has made on demand services more efficient and secure for media companies, and ultimately more available and convenient for users.

We are committed to maintaining Widevine’s agreements and will provide direct, quality support for their existing and future clients—and we plan to build upon Widevine’s technology to enhance both their products and our own. We’re excited to welcome the Widevine team to Google, and together we’ll work to improve access to great video content across the web.