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Google Buys JotSpot: The Nickel Tour Analysis

Google Buy JotSpot

Isn’t that exciting? Now Google has a wiki platform, another spreadsheet, and a * 2.0 applications platform.

RedMonk uses JotSpot/Google’s tracker for several admin-y type things. All these tools we use writely keep getting bought up by Google ;>

I was actually thinking of suggesting that we move to Google’s Spreadsheet earlier today, so now I suppose that’s a moot point. Hopefully the to spreadsheets will be combined.


To be honest, I haven’t really liked JotSpot’s spreadsheet. It has the same annoyance as (also, now, Google’s) Writely: the right clicking doesn’t work too well, the Firefox menu is always coming up. And keyboarding through it is a tad clunky.

In contrast, Zimbra, which RedMonk uses for email and calendaring, actually works quite well. As folks at Adobe Max commented several times last week, AJAX based RIA’s aren’t a panacea for super-simple. Maybe our friends at Nitobi have cracked the grid puzzle…

Bullet-point Analysis

I’m sure our resident Q&A master will have a lengthier analysis soon, but here are a few thoughts at the moment:

  • As pmuellr asked in #redmonk, “what’s left?” That’s a good question. While there’s GooTube, there isn’t a pure audio component. Podcast (and, thus, “any” audio) transcription services seem like they’d be interesting. Or maybe Apple has the audio market too locked up to get in to. On the horizon are things like Spiceworks: uncovering “raw information,” and thus channels for ads and other long-tail sales in undeserved markets.
  • Once again, if Google can package up it’s Office 2.0 offerings along side search on an appliance and build up more enterprise relationships, they’ll have a seriously interesting looking offering for behind-the-firewall. Of course, Yahoo! could do something similar. The question is if those consumer based folks have it in their blood to sell to business. Tales of Apple enterprise sales are relevant context.
  • That said, once Google integrates JotSpot’s wiki with “Google Office,” they’ll have all the pieces to offer a 1.0 version of Office 2.0 (ho, ho). In my mind, they still need to find that tipping point that causes people and companies to move from MS Office to a SaaS office. We’ll see what happens when Vista and The Ribbon ships.
  • Apologies for going all enterprisey on you, dear readers, but eventually Google’s going to need some real IdM. That said, they’re where I’d expect any given software company to be at this point in their life along the IdM life-cycle: non-integrated silos that rarely work together. As Brandon would remind us, a software “suite” has to get quite large before the company, patron, or leads realizes, often the painful way, that it needs to lace in identity.
  • Coming off of Adobe Max, Google’s use of AJAX over Flash/Flex and other RIA’s is an interesting side-note. Sure, they use Flash in YouTube and in other places I’m sure I’m missing. But, Google seems to be quite the AJAX shop.

In Summary

Overall, it seems good to me: from the outside looking in, Google seems like the type of place that developers will thrive in. And I’m always happy to see a startup “win” by being acquired.

The primary danger of a Google acquisition is slowing down development in the acquired company: compare blogger post acquisition vs. WordPress, TypePad/MT, Roller, and others.

On a final note: I’m not sure how much Google is paying for JotSpot and, to be honest, other than being aghast at large sums, that’s not the kind of thing I could analyze too well anyhow.

Disclaimer: Spiceworks and Adobe are a client.

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Categories: Collaborative, Companies, Enterprise Software, Ideas, Identity.

Comment Feed

3 Responses

  1. I know that Google has recently been viewed with more wariness than before, but their apparent preference for "open", real-web-based technologies is, in my opinion, a better thing than (as you put it) "forking the Web" like Adobe and Eclipse (in its RCP form)

  2. "Can somebody tell me what kind of a world we live in, where a man dressed up as a *bat* gets all of my press?"

    Sums it up the best I think. Google is looking for web applications that have gathered a decent fan base and has some complimentary features. Integration seems to be pretty good so far with their acquisitions but I wonder how long they can keep that up.

    One positive is that the people developing applications like jotspot are more inclined to help integrate faster than other companies. The key is having a company that is like minded and able to adapt. So far google has been pretty adaptable with their integration strategies.

    Do you think they would ever end up like EMC with a variety of acquisitions and no significant progress on integration?

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