March 7, 2011 11:09 pm

Google buys UK price comparison website for £37.7m

Google has snapped up BeatThatQuote.com, a price comparison website, for £37.7m as the technology group looks to widen its range of services and strengthen its foothold in the UK financial products market.

BeatThatQuote helps users to compare a range of products including loans, insurance and utilities. It competes with bigger UK rivals such as Moneysupermarket.com and Comparethemarket.com as well as providing the underlining technology for price comparison services on other sites.

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Google has shifted its focus during the past few years, turning itself from a straight search company into a broader media player with interests ranging from television to music and publishing.

Last month Google sought to go head to head with Apple by launching a payment service for digital content that would give publishers a greater share of revenue than its rival’s system.

Google’s open source Android operating platform now powers a range of smartphones. The US group is also looking to compete with companies such as Apple and Spotify by launching its own music download store.

The BeatThatQuote acquisition, though small, will help Google build on an existing credit card comparison business in the UK, which will give search engine users faster access to relevant queries.

Google has faced criticism from those who claim that its algorithms favour its own products, something the US company denies. Google says its algorithms are impersonal and it clearly labels its own services.

John Paleomylites, managing director of BeatThatQuote, said that by teaming up with Google “we think we can offer more transparency and better pricing information than existing online offerings”.

Not all of Google’s attempts to add on new services have been successful. Earlier this year the group abandoned attempts to compete with the likes of the UK’s Rightmove in the property search market. The feature allowed users in the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Japan, to find real estate for sale or rent and then view the property using Google’s Street View.

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