Search engine and mobile juggernaut Google has acquired Bump, an app that simulates NFC capabilities and allows people to transfer files between two phones by tapping them together.
According to a report by AllThingsD, a source close to the transaction said that Google paid between $30 million and $60 million for Bump, whose investors include Sequoia Capital, Andreesen Horowitz and SV Angel.
While a number of Android phones list NFC as a feature (including Google’s own Nexus line) Bump’s strength was in its ability to connect people across mobile platforms. You can share contacts between iOS and Android using Bump in the same way that you’d share contacts between two phones on the same platform.
Apple has staunchly avoided including NFC in any of their mobile products, instead opting to build its own solution that uses Bluetooth and wi-fi. The Bump acquisition may be a way for Google to add NFC-like functionality to Android phones that don’t have the necessary hardware, or a means to allow similar functionality across platforms in the company’s other mobile apps.
In addition to the company’s titular app, Google also gets Flock, an app that uses geolocation to see if you’re taking pictures near any of your other Facebook friends and collects all of your photos from that particular location and time into one cohesive album. That functionality could be useful for Google’s plans surrounding Google+, which the search engine giant continues to push.
According to Bump’s blog post announcing the acquisition, the company’s apps for iOS and Android will continue to run normally, at least for the time being.
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.