For most of this year, Google has been holding back on its M&A activity. But its recent acquisitions of On2 Technologies in August and reCAPTCHA a week ago signal that Google is regaining its appetite for acquisitions. CEO Eric Schmidt told Reuters today that he wants to buy at least one small startup a month primarily because it is a great way to hire the best talent.
So what type of startups is Google likely to buy? One way to figure that out is to look at what kinds of startups its bought in the past. The Google acquisition and investment map below was created by the folks at MeetTheBoss (they’ve made similar visualizations for Amazon and eBay). There are a few deals missing like last week’s reCaptcha acquisition (see CrunchBase for a more complete list), but the subway-map visualization above gives the broad outlines of Google’s acquisition path.
The longest lines with the most stops (each stop represents a deal) are technology (dark violet) and web services (green). Startups which fall somewhere on those two lines seem to have a stronger chance of getting picked up by Google, at least historically. Other shorter, but overlapping lines, include advertising (pink), search (salmon), mapping (violet), social (red), video (dark red). Which lines does Google need to extend?
(Click on the map below to enlarge).