Google has acquired Bump — a move that could fundamentally change the way people and devices interact, suggested Bump cofounder and CEO David Lieb. Bump’s mobile file-sharing app allows users to exchange files such as contact information or photos with a tap, or “bump,” of their phones or other devices.
The app was popular following its 2009 launch, with more than 10 million downloads. Because it was not a native feature and had to be downloaded by both users in order to work, however, widespread adoption seemed unlikely.
In addition, Bump was facing increased competition. Apple’s iOS 7 includes AirDrop, a feature that allows users to wirelessly exchange files between nearby phones without having to make sure the devices physically touch.
Google and Bump did not disclose the financial details of the deal, but AllThingsD reported that Google paid at least US$30 million and possibly as much as $60 million for Bump.
Bumping Into Android
For now, Bump and Flock — the company’s photo-sharing app — will continue to work as they always have, Lieb wrote. Eventually, though, if Google incorporates Bump’s technology into its Android operating system, it could give the Android ecosystem a major boost, said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research.
“It’s a very forward-looking acquisition,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “All the mobile devices out there are very good at creating content, but they’re not great at sharing. Some of the next innovations with smartphones are going to be user-generated content, and finding better ways to share it and make it more ubiquitously available will be a great feature.”
Bump was attempting to make that content sharing possible on its own, but could have significantly more success with Google and the Android platform behind it, said Aaron Watkins, cofounder of Appency and analyst at GigaOM Pro.
“One of the biggest drawbacks for Bump was always that to make it work, other people had to have Bump, too,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “An acquisition by Google means that Bump technology might be built into the Android operating system, allowing quick transfer of content — something Apple is trying to master as well.”
Making Data Sharing Truly Mobile
Bump provides Google with the opportunity to think outside the box for content sharing, said Kerravala. Methods of sharing via mobile devices so far have emulated PC methods — such as downloading and sending a file via an email — rather than being uniquely mobile.
Eventually, Google’s Bump acquisition could open up a world of possibilities for apps involving location-based services or mobile wallet capabilities, Kerravala noted.
“When you think outside of the traditional file-sharing mode, you start looking at the possibilities with the cloud,” he said. “If it were worked into Android and all of a sudden every Android user could share content by bumping phones, that would certainly be a pretty significant advancement.”