Google Buys Bump
September 17, 2013

Google Buys Pioneer App Bump, Won’t Kill It Yet

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

Google has bought one-time Apple App Store success Bump for an estimated $30 to $35 million. The company which built Bump, Bump Technologies, says they have no plans to shut down the app, a common concern among companies purchased by the search giant.

Bump quickly rose to popularity in the early days of the iPhone by letting users easily share contacts and other information simply by bumping their phones together. Bump Technologies grew the app and began allowing users to share more than contacts, such as photos or other selected files. In March the app had been downloaded more than 125 million times.

Apple’s iOS 7, due out this Wednesday, has incorporated a new sharing feature which could render Bump altogether a thing of the past, though it’s likely Google is more interested in other Bump Technologies apps and their innovative software team rather than the iconic iOS app itself.

“Our mission at Bump has always been to build the simplest tools for sharing the information you care about with other people and devices,” wrote Bump CEO and co-founder David Lieb in a blog post featuring the Bump logo in Google’s signature colors.

“We strive to create experiences that feel like magic, enabled behind the scene with innovations in math, data processing, and algorithms. So we couldn’t be more thrilled to join Google, a company that shares our belief that the application of computing to difficult problems can fundamentally change the way that we interact with one another and the world.”

Lieb also says they’ll keep the app running for their customers, but not without following the claim with an ominous “for now.” Though Google is probably most interested in the talent behind the app, it’s likely that they will be quite careful about shutting down recently acquired apps too hastily.

“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,” explained a Google spokesperson to All Things D.

The exact terms of this deal haven’t been officially announced just yet, though inside sources indicate that Google paid between $30 and $35 million, but possibly as high as $60 million, for the app company. This amount is seen as something of a "soft landing” for a company that never found a way to monetize their free app. Bump Technologies managed to raise $19.9 million in funding before Google came by, $16.5 of which was led by the Andreessen firm in November 2011.

Though a familiar and popular app, it makes more sense for Google to go after not just the software engineering team behind Bump, but their new photo collaborative app Flock as well. This app pulls a phone's geolocation data to determine which Facebook friends are nearby. Then any photos taken in close proximity to one another are placed inside a collaborative photo album.

Just as they did with Bump, the Bump Technologies team wanted to remove as much of the photo sharing process as possible and simply allow users to share and view the photos they’re most eager to see, such as photos from a group vacation or a concert. This kind of technology fits snugly into Google’s all-knowing host of simple apps which aim to run by default in the background with as little user interaction as possible.