From Wall Streeters to members of the media, it is not uncommon to hear people wax eloquent about Facebook’s high-profile acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp as prescient moves toward future-proofing the business. But Google’s success with perhaps innocuous-seeming acquisitions often gets overlooked.
The jury is still out on Looker, the data analytics company Google bought to add muscle to its fledgling cloud business for $2.6 billion. Whether or not it turns out to be the next YouTube or next Motorola, it is an interesting bet. In its history, Google has bought over 200 companies, spending quite a substantial chunk of change on them. Many of them were well-known and, in some cases, established businesses — Doubleclick, for example.
However, I want to focus on strategic deals that have helped Google evolve and have kept it a dominant player in the ever-changing Internet ecosystem. Here is my list of their top acquisitions based on the best return on investment for the company and the potential for future-proofing it effectively.