Google Ventures

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In pinch, use Cinch
The Cinch Polls app, a spinout of Nifti, is the easy way to get instant advice and feedback
When Nathan Sharp launched the shopping app Nifti a few years ago, he set out to solve a problem: The online shopping experience was ineffective, and it was rather impossible to monitor the random nature of prices on the Web. The company set up a way for shoppers to track the prices of individual products and get notified when they drop beneath a consumer-selected threshold. Basically, the application allows shoppers to automate deal-finding and helps makes the decision of when to buy a product for you. Now, with spinoff Cinch Polls, Sharp is not just trying to take the agony out of having to decide when to buy something, but instead, is trying to take the pain out of decision-making in general. Cinch is, in a nutshell, crowdsourced advice. Read More
Beta Testing
Confide: Keeping your messages truly secret
Photo "Discretion" via <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-101127469/stock-photo-discretion.html?src=pp-same_artist-121080262-XJMxjV5JF9SNnTNcwQXlTw-5&ws=1">Shutterstock</a>
My mobile phone pinged me recently with an interesting, yet ominous alert: “Someone has sent you a confidential message on Confide.” To read it I had to download the app, which I'd never heard of. But I did it anyway and quickly realized I was wading into “Mission: Impossible’’-style technology territory. Read More
A sensor you can swallow
Google's quiet partner on cancer-detection project: Mass.-based Entrega
Entrega board members Robert Langer, Jonathan Behr, and Colin Gardner. (Globe Photo / Jim Davis.)
Earlier in the week, Google took the wraps off an intriguing project that is part of its secretive Google X skunkworks: a magnetic nanoparticle that would travel through the bloodstream searching for early signs of cancer. But what Google executive Andrew Conrad didn't mention is that a Boston-area startup, Entrega Inc., is working with his company to actually deliver the nanoparticles, using a novel kind of pill. Read More
A good day for Openbay
Need auto repair? Openbay's service wins 'App of the Year'
Openbay's Rob Infantino at the MassTLC Awards
Openbay, an app that lets users get the best deals for auto repairs and pay for the service through the application, is quietly building an industry leading marketplace that could help car owners, repair shops, auto part distributors, and growing industries that rely on working fleets of automobiles. Last night, the Cambridge company was acknowledged for its auto industry innovation, winning MassTLC's "App of the Year" award at the organizations annual Leadership Awards event. (For the entire list of winners, check here.) Read More
Total Consciousness
Zen and the art of running a tech startup: Matt Bellows of Yesware
Matt Bellows
Sitting in the "dining" area of Yesware's new-ish office, barefoot, drinking a Lagunitas, Matt Bellows exudes an air of cool calmness. Having just finished an in-house yoga session (which I joined him for) he has no trouble discussing business, philosophy, ski-bumming, and Eastern religion in one fell swoop. Read More
M&A
A look at all of Google’s acquisitions in Boston
Military robot maker Boston Dynamics has been among Google's acquisitions in Massachusetts (image courtesy of Boston Dynamics)

Up until nine months ago, Google had acquired just four companies in the Boston area (or five, if you count the company’s “acquisition” of Biz Stone/Genius Labs). One of those was the huge pickup of ITA Software, of course, but little else apparently enthralled Google in Boston during the company's first decade-and-a-half.

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Teach the Children Well
Panorama Education - recent moves and new hires don't follow the traditional ed tech playbook
Panorama co-founder and CEO Aaron Feuer.
Since moving from California to Boston last fall, Panorama Education, which uses and analyzes surveys to make schools, teachers, and education as a whole better, has strived to break the common ed tech startup mold by being a bit more like a traditional software startup or consumer tech company. That trend continues with some recent developments. Read More