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10/31/2006
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Google Buys JotSpot Collaboration Service

Google sees JotSpot's wiki tools as complementary to its existing line of collaboration services, including its online document and spreadsheet applications and Google Groups discussion groups.

Google Inc. on Tuesday said it has acquired JotSpot, a collaboration service provider that is expected to be a strong fit with the search engine giant's tools for helping people work together online. Financial terms were not disclosed.

JotSpot, based in Palo Alto, Calif., was founded by Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer, co-founders of portal Excite.com, which is now owned by Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp. JotSpot's Web service is called a wiki, which is a site that lets people edit, update and append pages to documents without knowing HTML. The workspace can be either publicly accessible or privately secure.

Google sees JotSpot as a strong fit with its existing collaboration products, such as its online document and spreadsheets applications and its discussion forum called Google Groups, JotSpot officials said on the site. There's also a fit with Google Apps For Your Domain, a service that lets Web site operators offer through the search engine private-labeled email, instant messaging and calendar tools.

On the Google blog, Kraus said selling the company to Google makes it possible to "plug into the resources that only a company of Google's scale can offer, like a huge audience, access to world-class data centers and a team of incredibly smart people."

JotSpot on Tuesday closed its service to new subscribers while it moved its platform over to Google's software architecture, Kraus said. Current users were expected to have uninterrupted access to their accounts, and their data was not expected to be affected. The company also planned to stop charging users for the service when their current billing cycle ends.

Customers of the JotBox appliance would continue to be supported, but the company was discontinuing the downloadable JotSpot Wiki Server beta, and would not provide support to existing users of the product.

Buying JotSpot adds to Google's arsenal of Web services that challenge Microsoft's Office suite. Instead of offering packaged applications for word processing and spreadsheets, Google is taking the software to the Web. While the functionality offered can't match Office, analysts say the online software could prove good enough for average consumers and some small business-related projects.

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