The shutdown of Google+ for consumers earlier this year signaled the company’s momentary retreat from social. A new report today suggests that Google wants to buy a TikTok competitor.
The Wall Street Journal this afternoon reported on Google’s “discussions about acquiring a video-sharing startup” called Firework. This is meant to counter the viral TikTok app that originated in China. In fact, Google wanting a TikTok competitor could be part of a broader push for the company to be relevant in social media, as other acquisitions are also in consideration.
While the two apps are conceptually similar and allow users to publicly upload 30-second videos, Firework is geared more towards older audiences and is quoted as having millions of users, with many positive reviews on Google Play and the iOS App Store at a 4.5 average rating.
According to the Wall Street Journal, possibilities besides a purchase are on the table, including “other ways to partner.” Firework is valued at $100 million and would fetch a “high premium,” though the two companies have yet to discuss pricing. That said, Google’s discussions are further along than Weibo’s, which has also expressed interest in the California-based startup founded by ex-Snap and LinkedIn employees.
Part of Google’s motivation, people briefed on the plans say, is to stay ahead of the vanguard. It is considering other acquisitions in the space, too. YouTube executives are involved in the discussions over the potential Firework deal, one of the people says.
YouTube executives are reportedly “involved in the discussion,” but a Firework acquisition could be done under the main Google brand.
Today, Google’s social strategy is mostly focussed on one-to-one text communication with RCS/SMS and Duo for video conferencing.
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