Google has acquired technology and talent from Canadian mobile startup PushLife. The company's app allows consumers to import their iTunes library into Android-operated phones, but a source familiar with the deal points to the application as a building block driving innovations in "mobile commerce" after contractual obligations have been met.
PushLife's app allowed people to play, organize, share and purchase digital content, but Google believes the team's deep understanding of immersive applications and user interface design will help build innovative mobile products.
The PushLife team will join Google's engineering group in Canada to further application development in mobile commerce. The company's existing services will be discontinued once contractual obligations are met, but Google has no specific details to announce at this time. The group will likely report to Andy Rubin, who takes over mobile as senior vice president at Google.
The deal, rumored at about $25 million, does more than give Google content synchronization technology for iTunes and Windows Media Player. The app allows users to pull down song lyrics, biographies, news and content, which would work well with Google's search technology. It also provides a dashboard to manage playlists and share information about the music in Facebook and Twitter. Now it's all Google's.
Software versions for BlackBerry and Android phones were released in January. The platform also works with phones running Nokia's Symbian operating system. It's not clear whether the music service will become available on Google TV, the extent of the app's search features for mobile devices, and how Google will integrate advertising into the mix.
A YouTube video reveals an interview with Ray Reddy, founder and CEO of PushLife. Robin Axon -- partner at Mantella Venture Partners in Canada, which financially backed the company -- calls the software an "iTunes install for mobile" that allows telecom carriers to "get in the game" of selling content.
Reddy, a former Research in Motion executive, explains that the company's focus to enter emerging markets, countries lacking electronics other than smartphones, would give PushLife a niche that offers mobile entertainment to the masses "at a very low cost."
Virgin Media partnered with PushLife late last year to offer its music download service in the United Kingdom, allowing consumers to synchronize music on their phones with music libraries on their computers. Most of the content on the PushLife site has been removed, but a cache version of this blog post reveals the deal.