Google Gets Wiki With JotSpot Buy


The company said Tuesday it has acquired JotSpot, a two-year-old software company focused on popularizing wikis beyond the geek crowd by making them easier to use. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Based in Palo Alto, Calif., JotSpot offers software that ties the collaborative power of wikis to a desktop app-like interface, enabling users with minimal technical savvy to edit and share digital content. Popular with programmers, wikis allow contributors to collectively work with content, traditionally text or code files. JotSpot goes beyond text documents, enabling users to pool calendars, spreadsheets, photo galleries and other digital files.

As is common with Google's acquisitions, JotSpot immediately shut down for new registrations. The hosted system will remain available to current users, although paying users will no longer be charged. JotSpot previously offered a limited version of its service free (capped at 10 pages) and charged a monthly subscription fee ranging from $10 to $200 for larger deployments. The company claimed a user base of 2,000 organizations and 30,000 individuals.

Though Google hasn't commented on its plans for JotSpot, the service has obvious synergies with the company's expanding suite of hosted productivity applications, such as Google Spreadsheets and Google Docs (based on technology that Google picked up through its Writely acquisition earlier this year). JotSpot's creators said they are working to migrate JotSpot to Google's systems.

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Google has a history of making small deals to acquire promising technology, but it has a spotty track record at fulfilling the promise of the products it buys. With Writely, purchased in March, Google quickly integrated the software and relaunched it. Other technologies languish. The much-buzzed-about Web traffic and analytics service MeasureMap has remained closed to registrations since Google bought it in February. Meanwhile, Blogger users are finally migrating to Google's infrastructure and receiving much-needed updates, four years after Google bought Blogger's creator.