Google Buys Rangespan To Add Big Data Inventory Management To Google Shopping

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Google has made another move to build out its e-commerce business, and specifically its retail portal Google Shopping. It has acquired Rangespan, a London-based provider of back office services for online retailers, using data science to help them expand their product selection based on real-time sales dynamics.

The company is based out of London, making this the third acquisition for Google out of the UK this year after AI-specialist DeepMind and anti-malware startup Spider.io.

The service is getting shut down and integrated into Google, founder Ryan Regan tells me. The company, he says, is not disclosing the terms of the deal.

“Some of us, including me, are moving over to join Google,” he says, declining to elaborate on who exactly is joining. They will be going to Zurich (originally I wrote Mountain View but we were on a bad phone connection). “There are a lot of parallels between what we are doing and what Google is doing and we are excited to work together.”

On Rangespan’s CrunchBase profile, four people are listed as working for the company. In addition to Regan, there is co-founder Matt Henderson, technical director James Summerfield, and Jurgen Van Gael, data science director.

The news was originally announced on Rangespan’s home page:

We are very happy to announce that Rangespan is joining Google. We will continue to work on services for shoppers and retailers at Google, and we’re super excited about the opportunities to come.

As part of the change, we will wind down Rangespan’s services. We’ve already begun working individually with each of our retailers and suppliers on this process.

Rangespan had raised $5 million from Octupus.

Rangespan and its team could be an interesting addition to Google in more ways than one. The company itself has built up software that lets retailers and online goods suppliers to use existing market data to decide what products to add or take away from their current product ranges. In its time it has worked with huge UK retailers like Tesco, Argos and Asda on such solutions — giving an indication to where Google may be setting its own sights in its shopping spree.

Its efforts have extended into working with retailers to optimise selling through its portal and also home delivery services via Google Shopping Express. The idea here could be that Google wants to sweeten the deal for large retailers by helping them sell better through Google.

But there is also the talent in question. Regan and his co-founder Henderson are both alums of Amazon, and Regan was also once chief digital officer of Last.fm.