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Why Google Will Acquire Matterport3268

Forum Founder DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user
While I would have handled a $900 discount on the Matterport Camera differently – such as pay Matterport Service Providers to do demos and training and commission us for Camera sales – it is obviously (in the short term) that Matterport makes its money on monthly recurring revenue (MRR) of hosting, processing and ancillary revenue such as floor plans, VR and likely (coming) virtual staging: not the camera.

I could imagine that Matterport would be willing to even give away its cameras, if they figure-out whom would do x number of scans per year.

What is not so obvious is the value over time of Matterport Service Providers scanning the world of indoor spaces. In x years from now, Matterport will reach sufficient critical mass to license an API to its Matterport Spaces library. Imagine for example, Realtor.com – a Matterport alliance partner – including with all listings:

✓ Matterport Spaces 3D Tour
✓ 2D Floor Plans
✓ 3D Floor Plans
✓ Video (from the Matterport Spaces 3D Tour)
✓ Virtual Staging Tool
✓ Including eCommerce links within a Matterport Space

And, as a Matterport Service Provider, you only get compensated by your client (once): not the licensing of “your” content by Matterport. That’s my interpretation of the Matterport Terms and Conditions.

Google has always been about mapping the world of outdoor spaces. Less obvious (to the world), but not to Google Trusted Photographers was mapping the world of indoor spaces. Now that Google allows anyone - with multiple devices - to publish any indoor space – including homes – you can re-write the ambition of Google: to map the world of indoor and outdoor spaces that can be shared in 3D, VR and technologies yet announced or to be invented.

So far, Matterport camera owners have created 300,000+ Matterport Spaces 3D Tours. While this many may be small potatoes today for Google, imagine a day when all Matterport tours are converted to Google Maps. You saw EXACTLY that when Matterport announced CoreVR and over night 3O0,000+ Matterport Spaces became VR enabled.

While I do not expect that Matterport will enable all Matterport Spaces to be published to Google Maps, I do believe two things:

1. Matterport will offer for a fee the conversion of Matterport Spaces to Google Street View (Doable today, if Matterport allowed it)

2.Matterport Terms of Service are carefully drafted to allow Matterport to do what they want with the content that we all are creating. That content – “our” content – becomes a huge, valuable asset to a content marketer (such as Google)

So, while Matterport has an MRR business today from an end-to-end (somewhat) easy and fast way to create 3D and VR content, the longer term exit strategy for Matterport is a library of content that can be consumed via an API.

I do not believe Matterport started out with this vision for two reasons:

1. It did not originally collect location information
2. It’s likely its original terms of service did not address this (Could someone do an Internet Archive Wayback Machine search of the Matterport Terms and Conditions to add insight here?)

While I know that Matterport reads every word of the We Get Around Forum, it’s unlikely that they will respond to these three questions:

1. Do you plan to offer an API that uses “our” content without compensation to us?
2. What are you planning to do with “our” content?
3. If we delete a Matterport Space, do you really delete it? Or, do you still keep it? (And, reserving the right to use it?

And while at least one Member speculates that Matterport is grooming itself to be acquired by Microsoft, Google is the best potential candidate to acquire Matterport.

What do you think?

Best,

Dan

Related Discussion

New Matterport Camera Coming Soon?
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jfantin private msg quote post Address this user
Dan, I said it before and I say it again: in my opinion Matterport is not an acquisition target for Google.

Matterport's technology is tempting, of course, but this technology can be developed and molded to fit in Google's open business model by Google itself.

We don´t know if Google is already working on it, but considering Google's strategy with StreetView (I am a trusted photographer and have been watching all what Google has been doing lately about it), it makes sense that sooner or later they will aim for the 3D models market.

Do they need Matterport for this? I am not sure.

Matterport is playing as if it was Apple in the PC business in the 80's and early 90's (and I don´t have to remind you that this strategy almost got Apple to bankrupcy if it weren't for the new products they developed). But Matterport is not Apple and they have only one product so far.

They even mentioned the "Intel inside" strategy as the reason for inserting their brand in the models, but this is ridiculous because Intel was part of an open business model while Matteport doesn´t allow third party developers to enrich the echosystem. It seems like the guys at Matterport have read the wrong Harvard cases at business school or they didn´t understand a thing of what they read!

There is no gain in a "Matterport Inside" strategy if you operate in a closed business model (unless they are thinking in opening up their model...)

In my opinion this company has no future unless it opens up its business model or it is acquired, but the question is if they really have anything that cannot be replicated or sustituted.

The first mover is not always the winner in business strategy, and the business history is plagued with examples.

The winner either is the "fast second" (Google or Facebook could become a formidable fast second in this business) or the first mover that learns and adapts. And I am not sure that Matterport is a good learner.
Post 2 IP   flag post
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Tosolini private msg quote post Address this user
Interesting analysis @jfantin.

For what is worth, I don't think Microsoft might be interested in an acquisition either. Their eyes is on AR and they have developed already technology to scan a room in HoloLens (without the 360 photos). The Photosynth group that powered the 360 technology for Microsoft has been shut down a few weeks ago. Unless they are transferring that IP to the HoloLens team to enable 3D + photogrammetry together, there are no indications that what MP is doing today might be strategic for Microsoft in the future.

Again, just my opinion.
Post 3 IP   flag post
Forum Founder DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user
@jfantin

I could imagine that Google would like:

1. The library of 300,000+ images today
2. 5,000 Matterport Pros today
3. Box out competitors
4. The talented visual computing engineers
5. Intellectual Property (IP)
6. License Matterport Tech to other scanning companies

The MAGIC of Matterport is the data that the Camera collects. There are SO many ways that data might be used by Google.

@Tosolini

I agree with you. Microsoft has moved on to placing its bet on Holographic visual storytelling.

Matterport Terms of Service are written to allow the company to do many things with "our" content that would be of interest to potential acquiring companies – or to Matterport - licensing "our" content.

Best,

Dan
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jfantin private msg quote post Address this user
@DanSmigrod

Yes, it is true that Matterport has some interesting assets, but if you analyze what Google has done to their thousands of Trusted Pros, replacing them with their new idea of allowing anybody to upload not-so-good images, I think that perhaps they are more interested in quantity than in quality.

That means that, perhaps, the 5000 cameras/pros don´t mean much to them.

A different thing is the engineers and IP

I don´t know to what extent MP technology is replicable. Maybe this hasn´t happened yet because it is just a niche and the big boys don´t play the niche game, or maybe it is really unique.

Perhaps the effort of trying to develop something similar will not pay off if its application is just for a small market. Bear in mind that Matterport exists only because there is a tech bubble floating around and there are plenty of venture capitalists looking for opportunities (nobody wants to miss the next big thing), but this doesn´t mean that Matterport is the next big thing.

I am a bit skeptical about Matterport.

I love the technology and would like it to live forever, but I must admit that every morning I check if my models are still hosted by Matterport or they have gone bankrupt.

They have not crossed the survival line yet. They still need additional funding and with their completely wrong strategy I am not optimistic.

Honestly, I don´t have all the data to elaborate a well supported answer, so this is a mix of subjectivity, guessing and benchmarking with other cases in the past (I cannot avoid my profession bias here
Post 5 IP   flag post
Noel private msg quote post Address this user
While, we as photographers, might have the permission of the vendor and agent to capture and display a private home, in a 24/7 cloud service, does that permission extend to the cloud service to 'sell' off that data? From Memory Google Street view takes over the photographers copyright once it is published to their servers. I could be wrong about that, so back to read all the terms and conditions of both MP and Google.
It was also a plan of Google to make every book printed in the world into a digital copy too. Not sure how that project is going!
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TrustedPhotoDC private msg quote post Address this user
@DanSmigrod

Google doesn't need any of the items you mention and I doubt they want them or are easily obtained without buying a company.

Google is not interested in mapped homes due to privacy concerns plus they are already walking a thin line regarding anti-trust issues, so boxing out competition isn't something they are likely to do.

and they have Deep Stereo.

https://youtu.be/cizgVZ8rjKA

Google wants a fast internet. Loading a 3d model is not very fast. Will it get faster, sure, but until there is little to no latency with mobile, it will be a 2d world in Google Maps.

@noel - you are wrong. The agreement that Google had TIPS and Agencies use until September 2015 assigned the copyright to the client. After September 2015, this agreement ceased to be used and now a photographer keeps the copyright unless they assign it. Google has NEVER owned the copyright to a photographers work. License, yes, but that's different.
Post 7 IP   flag post
franmts private msg quote post Address this user
Google has IMHO a longer term strategy and all it needs to do what MP does without them, they have Tango enabled smartphones already shipping in the market.
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Metroplex360 private msg quote post Address this user
I still think that Microsoft is more likely as they have a team focused on business solutions and the enterprise. Matterport could give Microsoft an edge in many areas and compliment their Hololense technology. Not to mention revenue for their cloud hosting platform and marketing opportunities for that while taking business from Amazon. Google want to find technologies that create their own content that ultimately lead to pay per click ad revenue. Google is automation.
Post 9 IP   flag post
Forum Founder DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user
@jfantin
@Tosolini
@Noel
@TrustedPhotoDC
@franmts
@Metroplex360

Thank you for all your great thinking on this topic.

At least one Matterport Job Opening said "pre-IPO" ...

Do you think their exit strategy is "pre-IPO" or to be acquired?

If acquired – and it is not Google or Microsoft – whom else might be interested and why?

And, are Matterport Terms of Service written to enable this acquisition?

Dan

P.S.@TrustedPhotoDC I (respectively) disagree with you. Google IS mapping the world of spaces – inside and out. They changed their content strategy to allow practically anyone with any 360º camera to publish to Google Maps instantly.

I could imagine Google serving up floor plans from homes.

And, since @Metroplex360 showed us it is already possible to export 6-sided cubes from the Matterport API - and then turn them into fast-loading equi-rectangular jpgs, I still believe Google would to add thousands of Matterport Pros automatically publishing thousands and thousands of equi-recs to Google Maps.

One thing for sure, based on the existing Matterport Terms of Service, Matterport Pros will not get to share in derivative works of our content that power many different potential uses we think we know about (and other uses we haven't even imagined. The MAGIC of Matterport is the DATA.

Happy holidays,

Dan
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TrustedPhotoDC private msg quote post Address this user
@DanSmigrod I think your imagination gets the better of you sometimes. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.
Post 11 IP   flag post
Noel private msg quote post Address this user
@TrustedPhotoDC Thanks for the details.
Post 12 IP   flag post
iGuide Alex_iGuide private msg quote post Address this user
Google has Indoor Maps (in beta) which are floor plans overlaid on top of building outlines in Google Maps. Google has Business Photos for inside visuals. The panos load fast. The next logical step would be for Google to allow navigating inside the same way as outside with StreetView and maps - both through jump arrows in panos and by clicking on the floor plans, just like in the iGuide which we sometimes call StreetView taken inside. Google already has all the building blocks to make that happen and the user experience will be virtually the same or even better as when navigating 3D models. Given how long it takes to acquire data with Matterport and color and mesh artifacts in panos, it is hard to imagine Google going after it.
Post 13 IP   flag post
mori private msg quote post Address this user
I just had the benefit to meet someone from Google´s Core Tango Team Zurich and I am pretty sure that there´s no need for Google to access Matterport content cause a lot are private and even if the photographer has published public - cause MP has no other options e.g. password protection - they could get in trouble with the owner of the location who also has some rights. This situation is a little unclear.

Also the latest Google Developments beats MP in so many ways, that I just can say. That´s it: MP you are out of buiz soon if you don´t open your API for the creative people now. Otherwise they will switch and the numbers of MP captures go to ZERO.
Post 14 IP   flag post
mori private msg quote post Address this user
Here some pix - please don´t share to public - from the 48fwd event: https://goo.gl/photos/sJ1NftFd3h1NMCAc8

BTW: the cool gopro gear & stuff is from "crushed eyes munich" - not mine ;-(
Post 15 IP   flag post
mori private msg quote post Address this user
Look what my friend Mario just did with Google´s KI: https://artsexperiments.withgoogle.com/xdegrees/ogGvLdZg_9FlIQ/HAFcBHkcXDoXng/
Post 16 IP   flag post
iGuide Alex_iGuide private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by mori
Here some pix - please don´t share to public - from the 48fwd event: https://goo.gl/photos/sJ1NftFd3h1NMCAc8

BTW: the cool gopro gear & stuff is from "crushed eyes munich" - not mine ;-(


This is top secret work - it looks they built a time machine , take a closer look at one of the slides:


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Metroplex360 private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex_iGuide
Given how long it takes to acquire data with Matterport and color and mesh artifacts in panos, it is hard to imagine Google going after it.


The panos do not contain mesh artifacts -- the panos and the mesh are two separate things. I think you know that though -- perhaps you phrased this wrong. Concerning the color/quality -- I think that Matterport beats out Ricoh Theta S, which is what Google is currently promoting.

Look, you and I both know that Planitar makes the best looking panos -- but that's not the point

I actually don't understand WHY Google Inside Maps and Business View are not tightly integrated. Google's platform is an absolute mess without leadership as far as I'm concerned.

Even more reason why Microsoft would want to purchase a unique system to create their own solution... and recently, Microsoft has played VERY nicely with everyone else -- so in my little fantasy world, Microsoft would have a maps publishing system utilizing Matterport technology that would allow export to Street View. Poor Microsoft. Bing Maps is REALLY good, but no one cares
Post 18 IP   flag post
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Metroplex360 private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by mori
Here some pix - please don´t share to public - from the 48fwd event: https://goo.gl/photos/sJ1NftFd3h1NMCAc8

BTW: the cool gopro gear & stuff is from "crushed eyes munich" - not mine ;-(


I see augmented reality tech... not capture tech. What am I missing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mori
Look what my friend Mario just did with Google´s KI: https://artsexperiments.withgoogle.com/xdegrees/ogGvLdZg_9FlIQ/HAFcBHkcXDoXng/


Cool, but not related to Matterport / 3D Scanning, etc.
Post 19 IP   flag post
iGuide Alex_iGuide private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metroplex360
The panos do not contain mesh artifacts -- the panos and the mesh are two separate things.


There is "tearing" in panos which to me looks like the panos are synthesized from textured mesh (where colored texture from RGB camera is projected on the mesh) and those imperfections in the mesh create image quality problems. By "tearing" I mean jagged edges around physical objects' edges and similar stitching errors.

Creating panos using textured mesh allows MP to have good resolution in panos which would not be possible if raw images from low-resolution PrimeSense cameras were used directly for panos. At least that is how things work in my understanding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metroplex360
Microsoft would have a maps publishing system utilizing Matterport technology that would allow export to Street View..


If 360 panos are the goal (and they are the most practical way to deliver content), then using a 3D scanner that requires 60+ scans per home to create those panos is an overkill I would say.
Post 20 IP   flag post
mori private msg quote post Address this user
@Metroplex360: you are right on this, but for a real good mesh you need an accuracy of 3-5mm not 1% of what?

Other companies are able to do this and way cheaper than Matterport.

Making a 3D view with an AEC/BIM ready mesh on a small portable device which costs far less than a MP camera is just a matter of month.
Post 21 IP   flag post
mori private msg quote post Address this user
Currently the dollhouse view and mapped 3D data from Matterport is a nice gimmick, but not essential for business solutions. You could create a similar quality just out of high resolution camera pictures without the need of capturing 3d data.

Also with depth data and pictures taken with a TANGO device.

Besides the key target audience of Google are huge large scale places with "shopping opportunities" like airports, train stations, shopping centers to sell their "money maker" ads.

My most clicked button in Daydream is currently "skip ad".
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