Dan Shapiro (Randy Stewart photo)

Well, that sure was quick. Sparkbuy, the Seattle upstart led by entrepreneur Dan Shapiro, announced today that it has been acquired by Google in a deal of undisclosed size. The news comes just a little more than a month after Shapiro unveiled Sparkbuy, an online service that allows users to compare the prices and features of various electronics gadgets. (TVs, laptops, etc.).

Shapiro declined to comment when contacted by GeekWire, but a message on the company’s Web site says that they are “stoked about the opportunity to share our vision for search with a broader audience.”

This marks a quick turnaround for Sparkbuy, and the second company that Shapiro has either sold or merged in the past 18 months. He also merged Ontela, a mobile photo sharing service, with PhotoBucket in early 2010.

Seattle-based Decide.com also is kicking around a stealthy idea in the electronics shopping arena, having raised $6 million in venture financing last month.

Technology companies like Google, Facebook and Zynga have been gobbling up startups for talent more so than the products they have built. It is unclear whether Google has big plans for Sparkbuy’s technology, or just wanted its engineers. As a result of the deal, Sparkbuy says it plans to shut down the service.

Nonetheless, this marks one of the faster flips we’ve seen in recent years, right up there with Facebook’s buy of stealthy mobile startup Rel8tion before it even launched.

Sparkbuy raised about $1 million from Benaroya Capital, Founder’s Co-op and angel investors such as Geoff Entress, Kelly Smith, Chase Franklin and others. It consisted of three people, Shapiro, Scott Haug, and Isaac Myers. All three will join Google’s Kirkland offices.

Here’s the full message from the Sparkbuy Web site:

We are pleased as punch to announce that Sparkbuy has been acquired by Google.

I know, right? We can hardly believe it ourselves.

When we built Sparkbuy way back in the waning days of 2010, we wanted to make it really easy to find the gadget that’s perfect for your needs. Our idea was that you could combine huge piles of structured data with an intuitive interface, et voila: a few clicks to find the electronics widget with exactly the features you want. Have you tried to find a great laptop or TV recently? Crazy hard.

But when people started actually using Sparkbuy, we started to see that the opportunity was bigger. In fact, it was much, much bigger. There are so many “crazy hard” search problems out there we know it could take ages for us to deliver what our customers are asking for. So when Google showed up and suggested we could work together to turbocharge our efforts, we just couldn’t pass it up.

We’re stoked about the opportunity to share our vision for search with a broader audience. And while we won’t be offering services at sparkbuy.com any more, stay tuned for truckloads of new awesome from our team at Google.

Thanks for coming by!

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  • Anonymous

     Wow… that was fast!  Congrats Dan!

  • Guest

    Congratulations to Sparkbuy on a successful, very timely exit!

  • http://twitter.com/AndySack Andy Sack

     Dan and Scott did a great job here in a very short period of time. We were lucky to be an investor and I for one am impressed and proud of both of these guys for kicking some serious entrepreneurial ass :-) 

  • Anonymous

    Wow….rolling in it!!!!!! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryan-Starbuck/500012914 Bryan Starbuck

    Huge congrats Dan!  It couldn’t happen to a better team.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brant.williams Brant Williams

     Congrats Dan and team.  Totally pissed I can’t use the service (at least until its relaunched in some way in my normal googling). Really liked it. 

  • Anonymous

    Congrats Dan and team.

  • http://twitter.com/kmerritt Kevin Merritt

     Next round’s on Dan :) 

  • http://www.happybuy.com/ happybuy

    Interesting that they sold so quickly – there is still a lot of scope for innovation in the shopping/search space and its strange to see a site sold so quickly.

    We are doing similar things with our startup: http://www.happybuy.com/ – initially with price tracking, purchase recommendations and price predictions but a lot of other ideas have yet to be explored by large online retailers so smaller startups still have a good chance of innovating in the space. 

  • http://blog.CascadeSoft.net @CascadeRam

    >>It is unclear whether Google has big plans for Sparkbuy’s technology, or
    just wanted its engineers. As a result of the deal, Sparkbuy says it
    plans to shut down the service.

    has an interesting report on “acqhiring” and how giant-corporations are “acquiring” small companies just to hire the company’s engineers.

  • http://treemolabs.com brentbrookler

    Nice Dan!  Good job!

  • http://treemolabs.com brentbrookler

    Nice Dan!  Good job!

  • http://www.duncanhaley.com John Haley

    congrats to Dan and team!

  • Lala

    Get real he just got a job.

  • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

    Thanks for the kind words all! 

  • Dan

    Congrats Dan!

  • http://www.laptopcomputerslaptops.com/ patrick jhon

    Outstanding post about consumer
    electronics! In my view technology companies like have been gobbling up start
    ups for aptitude more so than the harvest they have built.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=502496929 Alex Berg

    Congrats to Dan and team!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kelly-Smith/573153409 Kelly Smith

    Congrats Dan and team!  We were happy to be investors for this short but incredible ride.  Best to you and the gang over at Google!  

  • http://blog.redfin.com GlennKelman

    Way to go Dan! I am the last to get this news, but one of the happiest. Couldn’t happen to a better person.

  • Tom Romary

    Hey Dan – great work, and I’m sure you guys will thrive at Google.  I’m glad I got to be a beta tester — cool product!

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