Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) acquisition of JetPac benefits Google's software ecosystem in numerous ways. But before I explain why it benefits Google, I also need to mention that JetPac is a mobile application that aggregates picture data, finds trends in that data, which in turn helps users identify top-trending locations. The amount Google paid for JetPac was not disclosed.
Google's acquisition of JetPac's technology will give Google the ability to offer better suggestions via the "Near You" feature that's been integrated into Google Maps. The "near you" feature does something similar to JetPac; it offers recommendations based on Google reviews, and based on those ratings you can find restaurants, night clubs, and etc.
However, what's really unique about JetPac is that it's better at segmenting the market. After all, a person's individual experience is extremely subjective. Not everyone dresses the same, eats the same food, and have the same hobbies. At the same time, actual demand never lies. In other words, if a certain sub-segment of a market is willing to pay for that service, and a user is part of that segment, making recommendations based on similar interests is much more effective.
The information provided is far more contextual, which is the broader direction that the web is going in.
Jetpac promises that it can find you an experience that's highly compatible with whatever it's that you want to do:
Find the bars where women go, the best views, or where the hipsters are. The FREE Jetpac City Guides iPhone app is a visual guide to over 6,000 cities all over the world! See where people like you hang out! Find local guides for the most popular places amongst surfers, business travelers, students, wine lovers, foodies, music lovers, LGBT, jetsetters, parents and many more.
I'm sure parents want to find restaurants, and bars that cater to their own needs. Travelers may want to find local specialties, and young adults may want to go to the loudest bar. So in a sense, this technology allows people to find an experience that more closely matches their individual preference.
And while Jetpac's usage of picture information from Instagram isn't going to keep the privacy skeptics happy, public information when used correctly/ethically can result in societal benefit. Perhaps the founders of Jetpac will fit right into Google's "don't be evil" culture.
Google's acquisition spree will continue, as they did mention that $20 to $30 billion in foreign earnings will go towards acquisitions. Domestic acquisitions of this scale can be funded by Google's domestic cash holdings. Investors should anticipate Google to buy innovation, especially when in-house developments fall short. Let's not forget, Android was bought out by Google too. And while this isn't going to be as ground-breaking as Android, it's a step in the right direction.
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