I’ve spent about a week trying to track down the rumors that Google had expressed interest in a Pinterest acquisition and here’s what I know thus far (here’s where to email if you know more): So Google never gave an official offer to grid bookmarking service Pinterest, but the desire to do was expressed (somehow?) indirectly, with a price in the “hundreds of millions” according to multiple sources.
This makes sense, as Google wanted to buy Path for $100 million before it had any users. Pinterest has a bajillion users.
I also know that Pinterest co-founders Ben Silberman, Evan Sharps and Paul Sciarra don’t want to sell the company. Former Googler Silberman wants to IPO, according to people familiar with the matter (Silberman himself wouldn’t comment on the rumors).
We’re also hearing whispers of a Google Pinterest clone in the works, which makes sense, as it seems to fit with Google’s general “if you can’t buy them, clone them” MO (see: Google Offers and Google Places). Considering that the Pinterest design has a built in virality and business model, I wouldn’t be surprised if Google, Facebook and even Twitter built something that replicated its core functionality — In fact Jack Dorsey describes some potential Twitter curation features in this interview with Kevin Rose’s Foundation.
So where could Pinterest fit into Google? Well, a Ginterest would totally make Google+ profiles a lot more interesting and competitive with Facebook Timeline. Users could pin a bunch of things with their main boards appearing on their profiles. It would also give the company more fodder for its beleaguered Google+ Sparks feature.
Pinterest, which just secured $27 million in funding at a $200 million valuation, has made the transition from strange mainstream obsession to white hot tech brand in mere months, and Google has pursued some of the hottest with mixed results. Just look at Android.