Google's Latest Acquisition Is Bigger Than You Think


One hundred twenty-five million.

That's how many times the ridiculously popular file-sharing app, Bump, had been downloaded as of March 27, which marked four years since it was first made available on Apple's App Store.

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What's more, just over a month later, that was enough for Bump to arrive at No. 21 in Apple's list of the all-time top 25 free iOS apps, putting it just ahead of the likes of eBay, Groupon, and Google Maps.

I suppose it shouldn't have come as a big surprise, then, when Google opened its massive wallet earlier this week to buy the nifty application. While the terms of the agreement weren't disclosed, an AllThingsD report cited a source familiar with the situation saying Big G shelled out between $30 million and $60 million for its new prize.

However, while that may sound like a lot of money, remember Google had an incredible $54.4 billion (yes, with a "b") in cash and equivalents on its balance sheet at the end of last quarter. To put that into perspective, if you were to scale the midpoint of that range down to someone with $1,000 in a bank account, this purchase would be roughly equivalent to spending $0.83 on a candy bar at the local grocery store.

Here's why Bump is bigger than you think
Even so, this acquisition should benefit Google in several different ways.

First, remember Bump's key functionality is strikingly similar to Samsung's nifty "S Beam" application, which builds on the Android Beam near-field-communication tech in Google Android OS, thereby enabling Samsung Galaxy series device users to share files by simply holding their gadgets close together.

But Bump takes it a step further, enabling any iOS or Android device to do essentially the same thing. In addition, Bump's website even allows you to quickly transfer files between your computer and a nearby smartphone by merely tapping the space bar with your device.

What's more, the small company also offers a photo-sharing app called Flock, which uses location information to automatically know which of your friends you're with, filter out strangers, and lets you later create albums to share based on the pictures everybody took while you were together.

For those worried their favorite file-sharing apps will go by the wayside, Bump CEO and co-founder David Lieb assured everyone that "Bump and Flock will continue to work as they always have for now; stay tuned for future updates."

Whatever those updates entail, keep in mind Bump had no problems building its popularity as an independent entity. When you put all this tech into Google's able hands, then, it seems a safe bet Bump's software will be able to take on a whole new life as part of Big G's ever-growing ecosystem of useful products.

That way, similar to how Google continues to relentlessly improve other mobile offerings like its Chrome browser for both Android and Apple's iOS, Google will be able to use Bump as yet another awesome feather in its cap to ensure it can profit no matter which phone consumers choose to buy.

Finally, affirming this is as yet another one of Google's trademark moves to acq"hire" new talent, Google also noted in its own statement, "The Bump team has demonstrated a strong ability to quickly build and develop products that users love, and we think they'll be a great fit at Google."

Foolish takeaway
My hat's off to the folks at Bump for what they've accomplished so far and for finding their way into arguably the most innovative, long-term oriented technology company our market has to offer.

In the end, though, and as per usual, I'm convinced Google had the most to gain from this deal.

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Fool contributor Steve Symington owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple, eBay, and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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