Google buys smart watch maker WIMM to boost wearable device initiative [update: Confirmed]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Last year, Google acquired Los Altos, Calif.-based WIMM Labs, all but assuring that the search giant is preparing to make a big move into wearable technology beyond what it has already revealed.



Rumors that Google was working on its own smart watch device broke soon after similar rumors emerged surrounding an Apple "iWatch", and now sources tell to GigaOM that Google purchased WIMM Labs in order to pump more life into its existing smart watch efforts.

The acquisition is thought to have occurred some time last year, when WIMM ceased sales of the WIMM One smart watch, shuttered its Twitter account, and said on its website that it had "entered into an exclusive, confidential relationship for our technology."

The WIMM acquisition, observers note, gives Google a highly developed pool of talent from the wearable computing segment. Reportedly, Google had considered handing the smart watch project to the Google X division, which developed Google Glass and Google's self-driving cars. Instead, WIMM is working within the Android division.

Any Google watch product that would emerge would enter an increasingly crowded field. In addition devices already on the market, such as Sony's SmartWatch 2 and an offering from Pebble, Google would face competition from its top Android manufacturing partner, Samsung. The South Korean conglomerate has already confirmed that it will show off its new Galaxy Gear watch early next month in Berlin.

Beyond those, there is the ever-looming possibility that Apple may enter the segment with its own offering. The most recent rumors surrounding a possible iWatch have it pegged for a 2014 debut. Apple's device is thought to have a large focus on biometrics and sensors. Such a device could be more in line with the thinking of Apple CEO Tim Cook, who previously hinted that "[changing] somebody's behavior" would be Apple's focus were it to enter the smart watch segment.

Update: Google has confirmed the buy to AllThingsD, but would not offer any further comment regarding what it plans to do with the company or its technology.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 60
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,905member
    There is a famous song about this .. Once the Apple iWatch come out it will drive the 'Wimm away'.
  • Reply 2 of 60
    Oh look ... Google Ads on my wrist! ROFLAMO
  • Reply 3 of 60
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,818member
    Very surprised Google was able to keep the purchase under wraps for so long, particularly with all the attention being paid to possible smart watch products.
  • Reply 4 of 60
    notscottnotscott Posts: 247member
    What's ROFLAMO mean?
  • Reply 5 of 60
    Hedge against the "what ever happened to Google Glass?" future.
  • Reply 6 of 60
    What a joke. Goggle is just throwing its disposable money around. Seriously, do you think that sh** will make them their money back?Their investors are so screwed.
  • Reply 7 of 60
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,818member
    Hedge against the "what ever happened to Google Glass?" future.
    WIMM was reportedly working on several different wearables and not just watches. Google may have bought them to use with Google Glass
  • Reply 8 of 60
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,634member
    Next year, you, the public and NSA can search your biometric data for free! Plus hear the hourly chime as a 30 sec audio commercial. Thanks Google.
  • Reply 9 of 60
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member


    We never heard a word about smart watches. Then a rumor arrives that Apple is making one. Suddenly Samsung and Google are frantically trying to make one. And after the iWatch is released, Samsung and Google will throw out their designs and will copy the iWatch.

  • Reply 10 of 60
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,224member
    Please, Apple, leak a rumor that you're working on a the iPlane just to watch Google buy Boeing.
  • Reply 11 of 60
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,224member
    jd_in_sb wrote: »
    We never heard a word about smart watches. Then a rumor arrives that Apple is making one. Suddenly Samsung and Google are frantically trying to make one. And after the iWatch is released, Samsung and Google will throw out their designs and will copy the iWatch.
    They don't wait anymore. They put out a piece of junk that looks like the rumor. Then after Apple releases the actual product, Google and/or Samsung accuses Apple of copying THEM. After studying the actual Apple product they release a v.2 to copy what it actually turned out to be.
  • Reply 12 of 60


    Google and Samdung wants to flood the markets with their cheap junks. They are just racing towards eating Apple business rather than focusing on quality products.


     


    I wonder when will Apple release Search! 

  • Reply 13 of 60
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post



    Please, Apple, leak a rumor that you're working on a the iPlane just to watch Google buy Boeing.




    Love it. That's the comment of the day.

  • Reply 14 of 60


    I wonder when will Apple release Search!

  • Reply 15 of 60

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post


    We never heard a word about smart watches. Then a rumor arrives that Apple is making one. Suddenly Samsung and Google are frantically trying to make one. And after the iWatch is released, Samsung and Google will throw out their designs and will copy the iWatch.



    I'm not sure that that is correct.


     


    The Pebble smart watch concept went thru Y combinator several years ago, before sourcing additional crowd funding on Kickstarter.com (2nd most successul capital raising ever on that site). Nike (and other companies) then launched Nike Fuelband and other wearable wrist devices that include biometric sensors.


     


    Then we started hearing rumours about an Apple iWatch that sounds as though it will (hopefully!) seamlessly merge these two emerging tech categories.


     


    As is often the case, Apple will likely produce a best in breed device that elegantly combines and makes use of existing technological platforms. 

  • Reply 16 of 60
    droidftwdroidftw Posts: 1,009member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ameldrum1 View Post


    I'm not sure that that is correct.


     


    The Pebble smart watch concept went thru Y combinator several years ago, before sourcing additional crowd funding on Kickstarter.com (2nd most successul capital raising ever on that site). Nike (and other companies) then launched Nike Fuelband and other wearable wrist devices that include biometric sensors.


     


    Then we started hearing rumours about an Apple iWatch that sounds as though it will (hopefully!) seamlessly merge these two emerging tech categories.


     


    As is often the case, Apple will likely produce a best in breed device that elegantly combines and makes use of existing technological platforms. 



     


    Sony and Samsung have also been in the smart watch industry for years now.  That's not to imply that they've been wildly successful, just that the idea isn't as new as some here seem to believe.

  • Reply 17 of 60
    ochymingochyming Posts: 474member


    Oh, Please! STOP this nonsense. 


    I doubt people will care for this thing.

  • Reply 18 of 60
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,818member
    jd_in_sb wrote: »
    We never heard a word about smart watches. Then a rumor arrives that Apple is making one. Suddenly Samsung and Google are frantically trying to make one. And after the iWatch is released, Samsung and Google will throw out their designs and will copy the iWatch.

    Google apparently bought smartwatch developer WIMM last summer. Google patent applications for a smartwatch go back much farther than that. When did a possible Apple smartwatch rumor first start making the rounds? It doesn't look like a reaction to a piece of Apple vaporware but maybe it is.
  • Reply 19 of 60
    mhiklmhikl Posts: 471member


    I think a wearable pocket watch that could also be a clip on would be a practical rumour feed by Apple. Details such as size and thickness would help the rumour. With such info FacsimileSam could come out with one bigger but slimmer than the purported Apple pocket watch/broach.


     


    For fun I pulled out my old watch and wore it for a week. I could not get used to the thing. Now an Apple pocket watch or maybe an Apple nipple ring, I'd give it a try.

  • Reply 20 of 60
    ochymingochyming Posts: 474member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mhikl View Post


    I think a wearable pocket watch that could also be a clip on would be a practical rumour feed by Apple. Details such as size and thickness would help the rumour. With such info FacsimileSam could come out with one bigger but slimmer than the purported Apple pocket watch/broach.


     


    For fun I pulled out my old watch and wore it for a week. I could not get used to the thing. Now an Apple pocket watch or maybe an Apple nipple ring, I'd give it a try.



     


     


    I do not have a phone. My iPod fits in my pocket quite well.


    If there is anything, it will not be a watch, in my ignorant opinion. You may have to wear it, tho.

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