GoInstant's "co-browsing" technology allows groups to browse the Web collaboratively, securely and in real-time. Co-browsing sessions are accessible via a standard issue Web browser -- mobile and desktop, with no plug-ins to download and install -- which lends social components like chat to e-commerce, customer support and sales activities, according to the startup.
In a blog post announcing the sale, GoInstant co-founders Jevon MacDonald and Gavin Uhma explain how the burgeoning field of social commerce motivated them to develop GoInstant. "Our vision was to develop technology that allows companies to create unique, personalized customer experiences through real-time collaboration. And today, we have developed a service that changes the way businesses and consumers engage across the social Web," they write.
Social CRM Buying Binge
Given the rush to layer social features onto enterprise software suites, particularly in the field of customer relationship management (CRM), it's no surprise Salesforce once again dipped into its funds to purchase the startup.
Last month, Salesforce snapped up social media marketing specialist Buddy Media for a whopping $689 million -- Salesforce's largest acquisition to date. Last year, the company paid $326 million for Radian6, a social media engagement and monitoring firm.
Salesforce isn't the only company making big social CRM buys. In May Oracle bought social marketing provider Virtue for $300 million.
IDC last month noted that social CRM was breathing new life into the CRM market. "An influx of new social vendors and acquisitions of social CRM applications providers by established vendors augmenting their offerings for rapid market entry is invigorating the market," said Mary Wardley, program vice president of CRM Applications for IDC.
Details are scarce on how GoInstant will be integrated into the Salesforce ecosystem. For the time being, indications are that Salesforce will pour resources into growing the GoInstant platform.
"Joining the enterprise cloud computing leader will allow us to accelerate our mission. Not only will we continue to advance our technology, but with Salesforce.com's support, we will be able to super charge our ability to deliver a truly amazing way for companies to engage and interact with consumers in real time," wrote MacDonald and Uhma.
"We will have more resources, and be able to reach more customers, faster," they said.