We’re hearing whispers that Google is in the process of acquiring AppJet, the small startup that builds the popular collaboration tool EtherPad. A number of ex-Googlers are AppJet executives, including CEO Aaron Iba, CTO J.D. Zamfirescu, and COO Daniel Clemens. The acquisition price is apparently in the low eight figures. We’re probing for more details. Update: EtherPad has just confirmed the deal.
EtherPad is a powerful real-time collaboration tool that’s similar (but superior) to the Google Docs text editor. Users can collaborate in true real-time, with virtually no delay. AppJet actually launched as a tool for building simple web apps. The team built EtherPad for internal use, but then decided to release it to the public. Since then, the product focus has shifted to EtherPad, which has started to take off.
EtherPad may have been a threat to Google Docs, but it’s also quite likely to Google’s interest in the company is tied to Google Wave. The two products share some overlapping features, but AppJet has built technology that can be deployed behind company firewalls. If Google ever decides to roll out Wave as an enterprise product, which seems logical, this technology and the team’s experience could prove valuable.
AppJet, which was part of the Y Combinator program, has raised around $700,000 in seed funding.