The Google Acquisition of Innuvo, and the Google Web Toolkit

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If you’ve been paying attention to offerings from search engines on how to make widgets for websites, you may have heard of a program from Google that allows java developers to take their programs and make them usable on web pages in the form of widgets.

The Google Web Toolkit is “an open source Java software development framework that makes writing AJAX applications like Google Maps and Gmail easy for developers who don’t speak browser quirks as a second language.”

The Google Web Toolkit Blog describes a number of widgets and applications that have been developed using the toolkit, including an feedreader for the iPhone, as well as the Google Mashup Editor, and a way to use widgets developed using the Google Web Toolkit offline using Google Gears.

A story in the Boston Biz Journal from last June discusses the Atlanta Office at Google in “Google searches for growth” (no longer available), and tells us a little about the origin of their Web Toolkit:

One Atlanta-based project, the Google Web Toolkit, was dreamt up by 33-year-old engineering manager Bruce Johnson. The young engineer, who helped develop the framework for the test project at Georgia Tech startup Innuvo LLC before Google hired him, says the program ( just had its millionth download.

At the Google Web Toolkit Voices that Matter conference, Bruce Johnson and Joel Webber both discuss the development of the Toolkit, and topics to be discussed during the Conference.

There’s not much online about an Innuvo acquisition by Google, but former Google employee Bret Taylor indicated on his resume (no longer available) that he was involved in the integration of Innuvo during their acquisition, and then the launch of the Web Toolkit in May, 2006.

Johnson and Webber are listed as co-inventors of a patent application that was originally assigned to Innuvo, and which has been reassigned to Google.

Method and System for Dynamically Composing Distributed Interactive Applications from High-Level Programming languages
Inventws by H. Bruce Johnson, Jr., Joel Webber
Assigned to Google
US Patent Application 20080022267
Published January 24, 2008
Filed: April 26, 2005

What this patent application covers is a way of taking a program written in a higher level programming language, such as Java, and rewriting that program so that it can be easily used on web pages, and easily distributed across the Web.

So, for example, a program written in Java can be rewritten by this system in HTML and java script.

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2 thoughts on “The Google Acquisition of Innuvo, and the Google Web Toolkit”

  1. If anyone was going to acquire Innuva, Google was the best fit. Glad to hear this news.


  2. Thanks, Brian.

    This acquisition was pretty quiet. I’d call Bret Taylor’s resume a reliable resource on the purchase, but would love to learn more details.

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