Xconomy Report: Fly the Googley Skies

By Gregory T. Huang, Editor, Xconomy Boston

April 27, 2012

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — It’s been one year since Google completed its $700 million acquisition of ITA Software. The Cambridge tech company is widely seen as crucial to Google’s strategy in online travel. But from talking to the search giant and its competitors, it now appears that Google’s business is less about helping you find cheap airfares online, and more about managing the travel experience from end to end — while serving up personalized ads and content. Google and ITA are building a new campus in Kendall Square that should be finished next year.
In other innovation news, a report by the National Venture Capital Association shows that in the first quarter of this year, seed-stage investing had its worst showing since 2005.
There’s still hope for young companies, though. Local energy efficiency startup CoolChip Technologies nabbed a $500,000 seed investment from Founders Fund, a San Francisco firm cofounded by Peter Thiel. CoolChip CEO William Sanchez first met the prominent Facebook investor through a salsa dancing connection.  
And finally, in a talk at the MIT Media Lab, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman argued that the explosion we’re seeing in social technologies is just beginning — and that their ultimate purpose is to help us be better humans. When I ran into him on the street, though, Hoffman was furiously trying to keep up with messages on two smartphones.

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