Google acqui-hires Kifi team to improve Google Spaces

Google Spaces
Credit: Google

Another day, another Google acquisition.

This time, Google is acqui-hiring (you know, acquiring a company just to hire its employees) the small team at Kifi to work on Google Spaces. But what does this mean for Spaces, or Kifi for that matter? 

In IT Blogwatch, we acqui-hire the answers.

Ok, first things first. Google Spaces -- that sounds familiar, but you can't quite place it, right? Don't worry, you're not the only one. We have barely heard a thing about it since it launched. Luckily, we have Ketan Pratap to refresh our memory:

Launched back in May...and...believed to be Google's latest take on [the] social app...Spaces...allowed users share content in groups on any topic. The biggest highlight it comes with built-in Google Search, YouTube, and Chrome.

Oh, right, now we (vaguely) remember that. So what's Kifi? And why is Google acquiring the company? Daniel Fuller shares some background on the situation:

Kifi...was built on the concept of adding context to collaboration make organizing and using information for all sorts of group projects and interests a bit easier. Kifi also rolled out tools for contextualizing of stored information, such as a “deep search” engine for ...Twitter content and links.
With Google Spaces in its’s tough to they plan to put the Kifi use or what parts of the Kifi product will be getting a direct port over to...Spaces. Kifi’s involvement will likely be very deep, however, as evidenced by the fact that the Kifi team will be sunsetting their own service in favor of Spaces.

But what does this mean for current Kifi users? They aren't going to be absorbed into Google, if that is what you were worried about. John Ribeiro has the pertinent information:

Kifi...will not become part of Google. Users will be able to use Kifi for the next few weeks, after which they will still be able to export their data for a few weeks.

So why exactly is this acqui-hire important? Chance Miller has some insight into the matter:

It’s a small but interesting acquisition...Google’s...messaging and collaboration efforts have long been considered...scattered in terms of execution and focus, but...Google is showing that it is still very much interested in growing...Spaces. It’ll be interested to see how the service improves in the future.

Well, we have some background, but there still isn't a ton of information on this. While we wait to see how this plays out, here is how Kifi feels about the aquisition (all puns intended):

We see a lot of alignment to Google’s mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Our team will be build solutions focused on improving group sharing, conversation, and content finding. Frankly, we’re thrilled they have a bit of “space” for us! 

Got it. The Kifi team is excited, and they love a good pun. But at least one person is less than thrilled with the news:

Kifi: collect, organize, share, and then kiss your data goodbye, because we sold out to Google.
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