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5 Companies Google Should Acquire Next

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Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has acquired dozens of companies over the past decade, including several that were worth $1 billion or more.

Now that the last remnants of the company's most expensive acquisition (Motorola) are gone, Google is bound to begin looking for its next major purchase.

Will it be a startup or a stalwart?

Maybe Google will look for an experimental newcomer with a ton of promise, or search for a lifelong success story that can be woven into the rest of its business.

Whatever happens, there are a handful of companies that Google should acquire in 2014 before one of its competitors makes a move. Click through the slideshow to see them all.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this slideshow.

Posted-In: Google Loop Meta MYO Oculus RiftNews M&A Tech Best of Benzinga

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    Spotify

    Spotify

    Google really, really wants to be a leader in music distribution.

    The company has developed multiple services to serve consumers, but none of them have taken off.

    YouTube -- originally created for user-made uploads -- is the exception. Musicians have used the site as a full-fledged (and vastly superior) replacement for MTV.

    Regardless, Google wants more. The company is thought to be developing a paid YouTube service that will be separate from its other offerings.

    Instead of doing that, Google should realize that there is a reason why it has yet to take control of the music market: two leaders already exist.

    iTunes dominates the downloaded content sector, and Spotify is by far the leader for on demand (ex: non-randomized) music streams. Pandora is extremely popular, but it's more of radio service than anything else.

    Right now, Spotify is still growing. But if its growth continues, it may one day become too big and too expensive for Google to acquire. The company should buy it now while it still has the chance.

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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    Oculus VR

    Oculus VR

    Google hopes to dominate the augmented reality market when its first AR device, Google Glass, is released.

    But what about virtual reality?

    Thus far, Google has said very little about VR technology. The company could change that -- and get a jump on the competition -- if it acquired Oculus VR.

    Known for developing prototypes of the Oculus Rift headset, Oculus VR hopes to change the future of virtual reality.

    The company may only be a couple of years away from releasing a game-changing product. Google should do whatever it takes to secure the company's technology before it's too late.

    In doing so, Google would also have an opening to enter the game industry -- if it felt that was necessary to stay competitive.

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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    Meta

    Meta

    Is this the future of augmented reality?

    Matt Kitchales, the company's Product Manager, is confident that the answer is "yes."

    "As soon as you put the glasses on, the skepticism will turn to a huge smirk on your face," he told Benzinga last year. "It happens every time."

    Meta recently unveiled its first consumer product. The $3,650 price tag is a bit extreme, but if this is the real deal, the META Pro could change everything.

    Google Glass has a lot of potential, no doubt. But Meta's glasses have the chance to immerse the user in an AR-enhanced world unlike any other.

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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    The Loop

    The Loop

    Google Wallet and other mobile payment solutions are useless without the proper POS (point of sale) hardware.

    Loop, Inc. developed a unique approach to this concept by creating a cellular attachment that interfaces with almost all POS terminals.

    The result is a promising technology that could drastically change the future of mobile payments.

    Unlike most systems, The Loop might actually be able to replace a user's wallet.

    If nothing else, Google would be wise to fully investigate this company and its technology.

    Image Source: Loop, Inc.
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    Thalmic Labs

    Thalmic Labs

    Backed by Intel Capital (the investment arm of Intel), Thalmic Labs is taking motion control to a whole new level.

    The startup has produced a revolutionary arm band that allows users to control a wide range of devices by performing various gestures.

    The results for this device, known as Myo, are nothing short of breathtaking. When the first tech demo was introduced, many compared the effect (of waving an arm to command a Bluetooth helicopter) to Jedi Knight control.

    Like most of the tech listed here, Myo is still in its infancy. The technology has a long way to go before it's perfected.

    Then again, the same could be said for Nest. Thus far, Nest has only shown the public that it is capable of creating two devices -- a smart thermostat and a smart fire and carbon monoxide detector. Google paid $3 billion for that company.

    Thalmic Labs would likely be a lot cheaper, and could provide Google with an entirely unique technology that could work really well with Google Glass.

    Image Source: Thalmic Labs
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