Co-browsing start-up GoInstant to be acquired by Salesforce.com

Salesforce.com will buy collaborative Web-browsing start-up GoInstant for $76 million (£49 million).

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, first reported that Salesforce, which provides cloud-based sales-management software, was looking to pick up two-year-old GoInstant to bolster its customer service offerings. GoInstant provides technology that lets multiple users surf the Web together in a real-time, allowing all participants to type, click, and scroll together.

The acquisition has since been confirmed.

"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. We will have more resources, and be able to reach more customers, faster," wrote GoInstant's CEO Jevon MacDonald and CTO Gavin Uhma.

The buy will be the latest in a string of recent acquisitions for Salesforce. The enterprise cloud giant last month dropped $689 million (£444 million) for social media marketing platform Buddy Media. This past December, it bought performance management firm Rypple for an undisclosed sum. Also last year it picked up Radian6, a company that helps businesses measure their effectiveness on social media sites, in a $326 million (£219 million) acquisition.

Nova Scotia-based GoInstant, founded in 2010, has received $1.7 million (£1 million) in funding from a list of prominent venture capitalists and angel investors including LinkedIn chairman Reid Hoffman, Facebook investor Yuri Milner, former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya, as well as firms Freestyle Capital and Baseline Ventures.

GoInstant doesn't position itself as a social browser, but instead targets other start-ups that may need to provide support or assistance to customers or partners.

Users can log in either with their own username and password or with their Facebook account. Once both users are live, they each see the same screen, represented as a browser pane. Within that pane is a URL bar, the same as any other browser. The only difference is that each user sees two mouse pointers, each with a name attached.

Each user can click on whatever they want, or type in a new URL into the window. The GoInstant server sends the same information to both browsers.