Google + JotSpot = GSpot?

I opened my mail this evening and found an email from the wiki service JotSpot informing me that Google has just purchased it:

We’re writing to let you know that Google has acquired JotSpot. We believe this is great news for our users. More importantly, we want to reassure you that you’ll continue to have uninterrupted access to your account. Both Google and JotSpot are committed to supporting our customers, and we understand that users have invested a lot in our products. In the near-term, we’re focused on migrating JotSpot to Google’s systems and datacenters. We’ll work hard to make that move as seamless as possible so that customers won’t be inconvenienced.

Why is Google acquiring JotSpot?

Google shares JotSpot’s vision for helping people collaborate, share and work together online. JotSpot’s team and technology are a strong fit with existing Google products like Google Docs & Spreadsheets and Google Groups.

What does this mean for JotSpot customers?

We believe that joining Google will accelerate our team’s vision of offering users the best collaboration platform on the web. Google shares that vision and presents us with the world’s best environment for delivering on it. We’ll be taking advantage of Google’s world-class systems infrastructure and operations expertise to ensure that access to your JotSpot is fast and reliable. We can’t share any of our plans publicly just yet, but we can tell you that we’re incredibly excited about the possibilities. We can’t think of a better company to have been acquired by.

Will paying customers still be charged?

We will no longer be billing customers for the use of the service. Although you will still have use of the product at your current pricing plan, we won’t charge you anymore when your current billing cycle expires.

What about security and privacy?

Your data is yours that doesn’t change at Google. We will continue to work to ensure the privacy and security of your data. Furthermore, Google is as committed to privacy and security as we are. Since the user information you provided to JotSpot will soon be transferred to Google as part of their acquisition of JotSpot, we want to provide you with the opportunity to retrieve your user information and cease usage of the JotSpot service before the transition. If you do not wish to continue using JotSpot, send an email to in the next sixty days and we will reply with instructions for retrieving your user information.

Wow! Google is really pushing ahead to acquire a variety of really interesting companies. You are probably wondering about the same thing I am? Is this the direction the much anticipated Google Office is going in? It certainly makes a lot of sense after Google’s recent merger of Writely and Google Spreadsheets under the banner of Google Docs and Spreadsheets.

For those who haven’t used JotSpot before, it is a wiki based service that allows you to collaborate on spreadsheets, documents and projects using a variety of tools in a web-based environment. If you are familiar with Google Docs and Spreadsheets, comparing JotSpot to Google Docs and Spreadsheets is a bit like comparing Microsoft Office to Notepad. So you can imagine how the addition of JotSpot to Google’s productivity offerings could make some serious advances towards the mythical and much rumoured Google Office suite, a web-based competitor to Microsoft Office.

It turns out, we are not the only people thinking along these lines. ZDNet’s Between the Lines blog has a post postulating that JotSpot could be a new foundation for Google Office:

David already weighed in on Google acquiring JotSpot. It seems that Google is buying rather than building a collaborative applications platform, first with Blogger, Writely and now with JotSpot and more to come. I doubt that JotSpot will be renamed Gspotperhaps Google Workplace or Google Office.

While Writely, now Googles Docs, is a nice browser-based, collaborative word processor, it is not a platform for knitting together a suite of collaborative (wiki)-based applications. JotSpot has modules for spreadsheets, calendars, documents and photo galleries, and could extend that to presentations, forms and other kinds of content. JotSpot also has an Application Gallery of add-ons, such as project management and forums. Like’s AppExchange, a vibrant ecosystem could build up around JotSpot’s platform and Google’s monetization platform.

The Jotspot Web site just has a splash page about the Google deal. No more new accounts until JotSpot migrates to Google’s systems. One issue is whether Google will unify its communications and productivity applications around a base platform. Do Google Spreadsheets and JotSpot Spreadsheet or Google Calendar and JotSpot Calendar unite in some fashion?

Marshall Kirkpatrick of TechCrunch pointed out that JotSpot has quite a bit to offer Google:

Other than a wiki, most of Jotspots plug and play applications are things that Google already has its own versions of. The acquisition may have been largely motivated by the desire to bring on board an agile team able to quickly ramp up lightweight hosted business applications for collaboration. Google may push Jotspot primarily as a project management application, one of the most important missing pieces of the companys office platform. In fact, far more than a wiki, Im going to guess that when Google reopens Jotspot to new users it will be as a wiki based project management service.

Jotspot has often been discussed as one of the most successful and established enterprise 2.0 companies and I imagine the selling price was a good one for the small startup. Details havent been disclosed but Jotspot is a strong company, the deal has officially closed and Google said in its last earnings call that YouTubes all stock acquisition was unusual. Google probably paid a substantial amount of cash for Jotspot.

If Jotspot can be integrated as smoothly as so many other Google web applications have been, it will go a long ways towards strengthening Google for the upcoming web collaboration wars. How much longer until a web conferencing company is acquired?

There was some doubt about whether Google’s recent acquisition of YouTube was a good idea. In contrast to that deal, I don’t think there will be much doubt that this is a good deal.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: