Google buys JotSpot, dips into wiki world

Search giant expands its hosted application portfolio with purchase of JotSpot, provider of a hosted wiki platform.

Martin LaMonica Former Staff writer, CNET News
Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.
Martin LaMonica
2 min read
Google has bought JotSpot, a 3-year-old company with a system for building collaborative Web pages called wikis.

JotSpot co-founder and CEO Joe Kraus announced the acquisition on a blog Tuesday morning, saying that being part of search giant Google will give JotSpot access to "world-class" data centers and engineers.

Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Joe Kraus Joe Kraus

Earlier this month, Google shook up the online landscape with its $1.65 billion purchase of video-sharing phenomenon YouTube.

Google's efforts to offer hosted applications, such as word processors and spreadsheets, mesh with JotSpot's strategy to build online productivity applications, Kraus wrote.

"We watched them acquire Writely, and launch Google Groups, Google Spreadsheets and Google Apps for Your Domain. It was pretty apparent that Google shared our vision for how groups of people can create, manage and share information online," he wrote.

JotSpot's product is a platform for building wiki-based applications. For example, the company has an online spreadsheet and calendar that multiple people can edit.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company has sold its wiki system primarily to business customers as hosted collaboration software. Wikis are catching on within businesses as lightweight alternative to large-scale document management systems.

Kraus said that the first order of business as part of Google is to move JotSpot's software to Google's software architecture.

In an interview Tuesday morning, Kraus indicated that that the JotSpot team will work to link its wiki software with Google's current hosted applications.

"We see tons of possibilities between JotSpot and great products like Writely and Google Spreadsheet," he said. "I can't talk specifics but it's pretty clear they have a bunch of best-of-breed products."

Google will also help JotSpot expand its audience and make wikis more widely used, he said. "Our goal has always been to bring this technology to a very large audience, and there's not a better way to do that than with Google."

Kraus said that the bulk of JotSpot's paying customers are small and medium-size businesses but that many consumers are using the free version of its product for various purposes, such as a class reunion wiki.

"Our view is that what we got is universal technology that has a broad applicability," he said.

The company earlier this year signed a deal with eBay, which chose JotSpot's platform to run a member wiki. It's unclear if that partnership will continue, Kraus said. "We're still in the process of working all that out."

The company was funded with $4.5 million in venture funding from Mayfield and RedPoint Ventures and was "close to profitability," Kraus said.