Google Is Buying the World’s Most Boring (but Useful) Startup

Google Is Buying the World's Most Boring (but Useful) Startup thumbnail

Image: Pointy

You know how sometimes when you Google a store, you get a pop-out sidebar containing info about products that store currently has in stock? Well, in a deal announced today, Google has agreed to purchase the startup responsible for making those sidebars possible.

The name of the startup is Pointy, and in an agreement reportedly worth $160 million, Google’s acquisition of the Ireland-based company should allow it to better compete with online retail giants like Walmart and Amazon without needing to facilitate sales directly or maintain its own inventory of products.

In a Google blog posted today, Google’s director for small- and medium-sized business products, Peter Chane, praised Pointy for helping “thousands of local retailers bring their product inventory online.” Similarly, in a post on its website, Pointy founders Mark Cummins and Charles Bibby said they are looking forward to “help people discover local stores and products on a much larger scale.”

Here’s what one of Pointy’s barcode scanner add-ons looks like.
Photo: Pointy

The way Pointy works is that local retailers can use a barcode scanner accessory or an app made by Pointy, which integrates into a store’s sales system, that allows Google to track products and surface that information to users searching for related products. This is how Google populates what appears in the “See what’s in store sidebar,” which Google and Pointy claim has allowed a large number of local shops across the U.S. and Ireland to achieve greater search visibility.

While there isn’t an official timeline for when the deal while be finalized, Google says it expects the acquisition to be completed sometime in the “coming weeks.” Meanwhile, for the average user, Google search results will probably continue to look the same as before—but down the road, you can expect to see more results pop up in the “See what’s in store” for various online retailers, both big and small.

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