Google Buys Dulance; To Open Russian Research Center

Sergei Burkov, Founder & CEO of Dulance will run Google’s development center in Russia. This was first reported by TechWorld yesterday and brought to my attention by Googlist this morning.

I asked Sergei if Dulance was acquired by Google, and he forwarded me to Google’s PR department which just confirmed the acquisition.

To provide some context to the acquisition, Google’s shopping comparison engine, Froogle, originally started out as a crawler but switched to taking data feeds fairly early on. Because the service is completely free, Froogle probably has around 50,000 data feeds (no confirmation), although the quality of those feeds isn’t always that great.

For comparison, many of the leading shopping comparison engines (by traffic) only have 5,000 – 10,000 data feeds, so I’ve argued for a while that these comparison engines are not truly comprehensive and therefore don’t always provide a valuable user experience. In fact, some of the leading shopping comparison engines rely on Google AdSense ads to supplement search results.

Dulance was the first of a new breed of shopping search engine which was based on crawling technology. Today there are a number of these engines inclduding Pronto, FatLens, and ShopWiki.

When I’ve had time to digest the news and do more research, I’ll update you with how Google might use Dulance. In the meantime, here’s the official Google press release:

Monday April 10th 2006 ? Moscow: Google announced today that it is to open a research and development centre in Russia later this year as part of its ongoing investment in Europe.

The centre will be based in Moscow and run by Sergei Burkov Ph.D. Dr. Burkov is a former research physicist who has worked at both Cornell and the University of Wisconsin. In addition he co-founded three companies, Bilbo Innovations (computer pedals, distributed through Fry’s Electronics), Invincible Data Systems (acquired by VASCO Data Security) and Dulance.

Google plans to use Russia?s phenomenal engineering talent to help develop great new products both for the Russian market and globally. According to the Russian Software Developers Association (RUSSOFT) Russia has the third highest number of scientists and engineers per head of any country in the world. Google also hopes to establish long-term partnerships leading with Russian institutes and universities.

Alan Eustace, Senior Vice President Engineering and Research at Google said: “It?s great to have Sergei on board. Technology is at the heart of everything we do at Google – we?re looking forward to working with our new Moscow team to develop great products for Russian users?.

Google’s Russian R&D centre is the latest addition to a growing number of global engineering offices, which include the UK, Israel, Norway, Tokyo, Japan, Zurich, Switzerland, India and America (New York, Santa Monica, California, Kirkland, Washington and Mountain View).

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