Google Buys eBook Technologies For Undisclosed Sum
Throughout 2010 Google has announced more than a fair share of acquisitions.
Some of the companies in question were quite small and unheard of while others actually owned some pretty exciting and useful products and technologies.
Judging by the latest news, Google will continue to check companies off its shopping list. Recently the search engine giant has announced that it has bought eBook Technologies, a company that mostly occupies its time with hardware and software distribution of e-book readers and actual e-books.
According to Mashable, neither of the two companies revealed any details regarding the deal. eBook Technologies only mentioned that it is quite excited to have been acquired by Google. Its website read: “Working together with Google will further our commitment to providing a first-class reading experience on emerging tablets, e-readers and other portable devices.” It’s not really a surprise that Google has become quite interested in ebooks. In fact we might go as far as say that Google is interested in absolutely anything that even remotely has something to do with the web and new technology. The company announced the launch of a e-book store in December which was called Google Books. Any user can access the service from the a mobile phone or computer through a web browser. Actual scans of books are available for viewing instead of just a mere text document.
Quite interested in what eBook Technologies is actually about, Mashable chose to dig a little deeper. First off, most of ebooktechnologies.com was taken down but a Google Chache version of the website was still available and revealed that the company was selling five main products: e-book hardware, firmware for e-readers, an “online bookshelf” software interface, e-book publishing tools and an online store. One of the two e-book devices called the ETI-1 was reportedly in development and featured a 8.5 inch LCD screen, 8MB of onboard memory, USB port, Ethernet and a 56k modem but oddly enough no WiFi.
If this sounds completely different from what you’ve grown to expect from today’s e-book readers, that’s because eBook Technologies’ device was developed in the late 90s or so. The company’s first product was released to the market in 1998 so I guess we’re talking about a lot of potential here but a not so well developed plan of putting the technology into practice. That’s probably where Google comes in. The main motivator behind this deal could be patents, know-how, technology and skilled personnel. The e-reader we’ve discussed earlier doesn’t seem of any value. The e-book interface eBook Technologies has created is inferior to Google’s one as well.
As previously explained on the company’s site, ex-CEO John Rivlin and President Garth Convoy were both the inventors of e-book patents. “John is co-inventor and patent holder of a system to provide secure electronic book delivery. He is also a co-inventor of a patent-pending system to provide offline catalog shopping on an electronic book. ” His colleague Garth was the inventor or co-inventor of seven issued ebook pantents with technologies that include cryptography and secure content distribution, optimal paginated document presentation and resource dynamic conversion for cross-platform applications.
Now that I’ve explained all this it’s not that hard to understand why Google would suddenly be interested in a small and somewhat unheard of ebook company like EBook Technologies. The people and the technology are quite valuable and there wasn’t really any way for Google to take advantage of them aside from an acquisition. We’re looking forward to see the new products or services that’ll incorporate all this.11