Google Buys Seattle’s Sparkbuy to Improve Consumer Electronics Search

Google has acquired Sparkbuy, a small Seattle company that aspired to be the Kayak of consumer electronics.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

A Google spokeswoman issued this statement: “We’re thrilled that Sparkbuy will be joining Google. They have built an impressive comparison shopping site that is simple in design yet powerful for consumers, and we think their expertise, vision and energy will be a great addition to our Kirkland office.”

The site, which launched in March, is similar to the travel site because it allows users to search for laptops by feature.

For instance, when shopping for a laptop, users can choose a sliding scale of prices, speeds and weights. Other features were “big screen,” “great for gaming,” “great for Photoshop,” and “3-D.”

Sparkbuy, which had raised $1 million in capital, had plans to add other hard to shop for items, such as TVs and tablets.

Following the acquisition, the Sparkbuy Web site has been shut down with a notice saying that it has been acquired by the company.

“We are pleased as punch to announce that Sparkbuy has been acquired by Google. I know, right? We can hardly believe it ourselves,” writes the Founder Dan Shapiro, who merged his last company with Photobucket.

Shapiro and his two other teammates are expected to join Google’s Kirkland, Wash., office.

Here’s Shapiro’s entire note:

We are pleased as punch to announce that Sparkbuy has been acquired by Google. I know, right? We can hardly believe it ourselves.

When we built Sparkbuy way back in the waning days of 2010, we wanted to make it really easy to find the gadget that’s perfect for your needs. Our idea was that you could combine huge piles of structured data with an intuitive interface, et voila: a few clicks to find the electronics widget with exactly the features you want. Have you tried to find a great laptop or TV recently? Crazy hard.

But when people started actually using Sparkbuy, we started to see that the opportunity was bigger.

In fact, it was much, much bigger. There are so many “crazy hard” search problems out there we know it could take ages for us to deliver what our customers are asking for. So when Google showed up and suggested we could work together to turbocharge our efforts, we just couldn’t pass it up.

We’re stoked about the opportunity to share our vision for search with a broader audience. And while we won’t be offering services at sparkbuy.com any more, stay tuned for truckloads of new awesome from our team at Google.
Thanks for coming by!
Sparkbuy Inc.
( aka Dan, Scott, and Isaac )


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik