What does it take for a web hosting company to have Google sniffing around at their products? Just ask Divshot, the company specializing in HTML5 that has been working with Firebase hosting for a few years. Firebase was picked up by Google in May 2014. Divshot first announced the latest acquisition on the Firebase blog in late 2015, pointing to the command-line interface as the main reason Google was so interested.
As of December 2015, right in time for the new tax quarter, Divshot began operating as its own entity separate from Firebase. However, the full details of the acquisition have been kept private. Divshot hasn’t been around for long, launching in beta stage in 2012. It was dubbed the “interface builder for web apps” and scored a whopping $1.1 million of seed money just one year later. It’s been critical in helping with migration to the Firebase Hosting .
It only took two years for Google to notice how critical Divshot is to Firebase, and they wanted a piece of the action. According to the blog announcement, “Firebase Hosting is Firebase’s static web hosting service and is now powered in part by Divshot technology.” Michael Bleigh, Divshot co-founder, says that everyone on board is passionate about making better experiences for developers. “Now we’re moving forward together toward that common goal.”
Google liked Firebase from the start, seeing its potential rather than what it was already doing. It’s rumored that part of that acquisition deal was that Firebase serve as the web app development and cloud mobile service—which Firebase delivered later in 2014. Now, both Firebase and Divshot aid in markets that overlap. For instance, Firebase backed the Divshot “Static Showdown” hack competition, where over 50 percent of participants used Firebase. In 2016, the latest Firebrand command-line interface will feature a “local static web server powered by Divshot’s open-source Superstatic library.”
Maybe you’re a web host who dreams of getting picked up by Google—or maybe you’d just love an offer from them as proof that you’re doing something revolutionary. No matter which camp you’re in, to get attention from one of the biggest tech giants in the world you need to bring something different to the table. Obviously, for both Firebase and Divshot, they were working in a very niche market. With thousands of web hosts at the ready, it requires something more than “just hosting” if you want an acquisition deal.
Unfortunately, that’s a rarity. For example, many North American web hosts don’t even offer virtual private server/VPS hosting. Instead, they rely on basic shared packages and dedicated hosting as being “enough” to lure in customers. And that just might work! However, you’re not going to have Google checking out your business if you stick with the basics.
Google doesn’t need help with web hosting alone (obviously). However, if they see something innovative with many kinks already worked out and a killer team on board, it’s often easier to acquire rather than build from scratch.