Internet giant Google has made enough search-and-commerce acquisition, snapping up Seattle-based startup Sparkbuy for an undisclosed amount. Sparkbuy specialized in enabling easy comparison shopping for televisions and computers, enabling customers to select criteria they were looking for in a product and compare pricing across retailers. Sparkbuy had planned to expand their efforts to other consumer electronics areas, and will apparently be doing so under Google’s aegis. But as of now, Sparkbuy itself is no longer operational.
“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,” the company wrote on its Web site.
On some levels, Google’s acquisition of Sparkbuy doesn’t make much sense: Google already operates its own comparison shopping service (Google Product Search, formerly called Froogle). However, where Google Product Search relies on automated data feeds collated from retailers, Sparkbuy actually did the legwork to get in touch of retailers, delve deep into specs, and come up with their own metrics evaluating aspects of televisions and computers: for instance, Sparkbuy’s “speed” ratings for computers were an amalgamation of CPU speed, RAM, and graphics capabilities, and the company scored computers based on their real-world performance with things like Photoshop and Microsoft Office.
Although Google’s acquisition of a small Seattle comparison shopping startup probably won’t have profound regulatory implications for the company, Google is already facing antitrust difficulties in the comparison shopping arena: Microsoft is suing GOogle in the Euoprean Union, claiming that Google gives preference to its own shopping services over competitors.