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Summary:

Google has acquired the social search startup Aardvark for $50 million, according to TechCrunch. The Aardvark founders had formerly worked at Google, so it’s an embarrassment that the search giant couldn’t foster the same kind of innovation from them internally.

Google has acquired the social search startup Aardvark for $50 million, according to TechCrunch. We’ve asked both companies for comment, as well as our friends and friends of friends on Aardvark (that’s what it does), but haven’t gotten official confirmation. Update 10:40 a.m. PT: Aardvark co-founder Damon Horowitz confirms the company has been acquired.

The Aardvark founders had formerly worked at Google, so this will be a lucrative return to the fold. On the other hand, it’s an embarrassment for Google that it couldn’t foster the same kind of innovation from them internally.

Aardvark raised $6 million from August Capital and Baseline Ventures in September 2008. Interestingly, it launched on instant messenger and the iPhone before making its way to the web.

As of October 2009, Aardvark said it had 90,000 users, with more than half of them having asked or answered a question. Eighty-eight percent of questions had been answered, and 60 percent within 10 minutes.

Update: Here’s a video interview with Aardvark co-founder Max Ventilla from our What’s Next for the Web? Bunker event back in October. Here he talks about the future of his service, what it’s like being a startup in the real-time space, and springboarding innnovation from existing platforms.

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  1. I doubt Google is embarrassed.

  2. Google Buys Aardvark for $50M « Kempton – ideas Revolutionary Thursday, February 11, 2010

    [...] Buys Aardvark for $50M Interesting info from Google Buys Aardvark for $50M, As of October 2009, Aardvark said it had 90,000 users, with more than half of them having asked or [...]

  3. I wonder why google shelled out $50 Million and why Investor put in $6 million into this venture…it is just another way in silicon valley is to create a lot of HYPE, come out of Beta, Make Zero Users, Capture some dumb users(like me) and sell out(Founders,VCs make money), Acquirers and users become fools.

  4. How to Use Google’s New Aardvark | lalawag Thursday, February 11, 2010

    [...] GigaOM’s Liz Gannes notes that it’s embarrassing that these ex-Googlers weren’t fostered to create this product in-house, and it must be painful to buy back your old employees for that much cash. But at least Google’s got them back now, along with a better product than the Google Machine could have built, and now the company just has to try not to ruin it. [...]

  5. This kind of makes me ill. $50mm for a half-baked system with only 90k users? I just got a marketing question from Aardvark.

    Q: “How can I get a record contract for my band?”
    A: Go on American Idol

    How stupid is that?

    TO’B

  6. pks4» Blog Archive » Linkpost | 2.12.2010 Friday, February 12, 2010

    [...] Google Buys Aardvark for $50M – Google now owns a "social search" [...]

  7. Spolsky Switches Teams: Raising VC for StackOverflow in Light of Q&A Competition – GigaOM Tuesday, February 16, 2010

    [...] Google Buys Aardvark for $50M See All Articles » Spolsky Switches Teams: Raising VC for StackOverflow in Light of Q&A Competition [...]

  8. Google’s Acquhire Binge – GigaOM Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    [...]          0 What do collaboration toolmaker AppJet, social search manager Aardvark and email search appmaker reMail have in common? A trio of little startups, they were all recently [...]

  9. Google Picks Up Another Former Employee’s Startup: Picnik – GigaOM Monday, March 1, 2010

    [...] with Google’s recent string of buys of companies started by its former employees: AppJet, Aardvark and reMail. Picnik co-founder Jonathan Sposato had sold a previous company, Phatbits, to Google in [...]

  10. When Social Replaces Search, What Can You Do to Monetize? – GigaOM Wednesday, March 24, 2010

    [...] feeling the heat, as as seen in its recent rushed and botched rollout of Google Buzz, and by its purchase of Aardvark, a social search company started three years ago by former employees, for a reported [...]

  11. For Startups, Some Good News From Google Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    [...] the company bought nine companies for a total of $145 million. The nine would include Docverse and Aardvark. In addition to these nine companies, Google paid $123 million in stock and cash for On2 [...]

  12. Zillow CEO Pozits a Social Q&A Site Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    [...] Q&A is hopping, with sites like Aardvark (bought by Google), Quora (raised a bunch of money), StackOverflow (also raised a bunch of money), Hunch (yup, bunch [...]

  13. PeerPong Asks for Expert Advice on Twitter Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    [...] own description of how it’s different from other Q&A services — particularly the Google-owned Aardvark, which seems similar but looks to users’ extended social networks and their [...]

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