What will Synergyse do for Google?

Alphabet's purchase of the Toronto-based startup highlights Google's propensity for picking up related groups and its focus on enhancing the product suite from within.

Peter Power/Reuters/File
A neon Google sign is seen in the foyer of Google's new Canadian engineering headquarters in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.

Google on Monday announced its latest technology pickup, Synergyse Training Inc., a startup whose acquisition will end up helping the Alphabet, Inc. subsidiary’s users better understand its suite of applications and attract new customers to its brand.

Google has long been known for the abundance of additions to its lineup of services, especially in the startup field. The multinational company has averaged double-digit annual acquisitions since 2001, including a high of 41 in 2014, and spends millions on growing its portfolio of investments and purchases which filter into its products. Its focus on startups also extends to its own talent: Google has reportedly launched its own innovation incubator to keep bright minds and new ideas within its walls.

“You have to stay a tenth of a step ahead of everyone else who’s even thinking about getting into your space, because once there starts to be momentum for leaving your ecosystem...the thing can collapse very quickly,” Alex Rosaen, a public policy and economic analysis director at Anderson Economic Group, told The Christian Science Monitor last year in reference to Google’s investments.

The addition of Synergyse is aimed at making Google’s Apps – products ranging from Gmail to Drive and more – more accessible and understandable for corporate users. Synergyse currently functions as an extension for Google’s Chrome web browser and provides interactive, personalized training for employees new to the Google suite.

“When learning a new skill, it’s helpful and comforting to have a coach by your side, every step of the way,” Google Apps senior operations director Peter Scocimara explained in a blog post. “The same is true when learning a new technology. That’s why we – and thousands of Google Apps customers – have been so excited about Synergyse.”

Synergyse works within Chrome and allows its users to interact with guided training alongside their work in Google’s applications. Aimed at increasing employees’ productivity and know-how, the service has already been used by around 4 million people across thousands of groups worldwide since its inception in 2013 and should reach even more with its addition to various Google Apps.

“By joining the Google Apps team, we can accelerate our mission because we will be working even closer with the teams that build Google Apps,” Synergyse’s founders wrote in a Monday release. “Advancing our mission at a faster speed is very exciting for the Synergyse team and our customers will directly see the benefits as we move forward.”

Google plans to integrate Synergyse with its services within the year, but said that the current Chrome extension will remain available until that point. As Synergyse was built within the Google Cloud programming and is already functional within Chrome, merging the service directly with Google’s related apps should be a relatively simple process.

Google reported that adopting the Synergyse “virtual coach” resulted in a 35 percent increase in Google Apps adoption over non-trained users, a statistic that backs up the company’s enthusiasm for its latest pickup.

“By providing the right help at the right time, Synergyse will help our customers with the critical task of change management in the enterprise, and bolster the training and support programs we already offer today,” Mr. Scocimara wrote.

Google did not release financial details of the acquisition.

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