Google kills Bump after dropping $30 million to buy it

Written By Sun-Times Wire Posted: 01/02/2014, 12:44pm

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Google has dissolved Bump just 3½ months after acquiring the company whose app let users share photos and contacts by bumping their smartphones together.

Bump Technologies co-founder David Lieb wrote in a blog post Tuesday that the Bump development team has decided to discontinue Bump and another app, Flock, which acts as a group photo album aggregator, to work on other, undisclosed projects.

Both apps will be removed from the iOS App Store and from Google Play, and will cease to work Jan. 31.

All user data will be deleted, Lieb wrote in the blog post. Users may retain any data they have compiled in Bump and Flock by opening either app and following instructions for exporting their data.

Bump was launched in 2008 by Lieb while he and co-founder Jake Mintz were MBA students at U of C’s Booth School of Business. Lieb and Andy Huibers had come up with the idea as engineers at Texas Instruments. They collaborated on the idea with Mintz, a fellow Texas Instruments engineer whom Lieb and Huibers had not met before, after Lieb met Mintz at Booth.

They developed software that made it possible for the smartphones’ accelerometers to respond to a physical bump, contact a server and match up the data.

They moved Bump to Silicon Valley and launched the app in March 2009.

Though terms were never disclosed, experts speculated that Google paid more than $30 million for Bump.

Experts on tech media blogs speculated Thursday that Google could still use the patents that it obtained with the Bump acquisition to improve near-field communications, and that it could use Flock’s technology to compete with photo-sharing and photo-saving rivals.

Google responded to a request for comment by sending a link to Lieb’s blog post.

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