Google's 16 biggest purchases, and how they worked out

Google's $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola will be its biggest acquisition ever -- more than four times the size of DoubleClick, the previous leader.

But over the last decade, Google has been one of the biggest -- and most successful -- acquirers in the tech industry, and owes a lot of its success to these smart buys.

Its core search advertising platform and most of its biggest new businesses, including Android, YouTube, and display advertising, all come from other companies.

Join us as we count down Google's top 16 acquisitions by value and show what happened to them.

#16: Android mobile platform, "up to" $50 million (estimated)

Google spent "up to" $50 million on the Android mobile platform. But that's nothing compared to the $12.5 billion it's about to spend on Motorola Mobility.

Last October, Google M&A chief David Lawee called the 2005 acquisition of Android -- the mobile phone platform started by ex-Danger leader Andy Rubin -- its "best deal ever." Less than three years after launch, it has become the most popular smartphone platform in the world.

#15: Aardvark social search, $50 million

Google paid about $50 million for social search Q&A service Aardvark in February 2010, but hasn't really done much with it yet. However, there are hints in Google+ code that suggest that Aardvark -- or what's left of it -- will soon be integrated into Google's new social network.

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