Google put down a big marker for the Internet of Things with its Nest acquisition, having previously invested in the company via Google Ventures. We take a look at what the other companies Google is backing and what its portfolio could bring to the race to be the next big thing. 

From Bitcoins to office temperature control, global food prices to web testing and mobile apps, Google has its fingers in many pies ... or nests, as the case may be.

Venturing into the Future

Google's acquisition of Nest has sparked the usual flurry of excitement about the Internet of Things (IoT). Doubtless other tech players will be looking to snap up IoT gadget makers, infrastructure and back-end technologies to bring their own vision of the connected home — or office (one Google investment is in Building Robotics, which offers personalized office temperature control) — to life.

But what of Google Ventures' other investments? GV provides seed, venture and growth-stage funding to many companies — and stresses that it does not make strategic investments for Google.

It has put money and resources, alongside many other capital venture firms, into many segments of the global economy, including mobile, lifestyle, commerce, enterprise data and life sciences, along with seed investments and practical advice.

Some of these companies have already been acquired by the likes of Google, Facebook and Yahoo. But there are still plenty out there looking for their next phase of growth, or the right time when their product will shoot to prominence, perhaps Buttercoin, a high-volume Bitcoin exchange creator. 

Pricing A Hill of Beans

Potentially, Premise could be one of those next big things. The company gathers big data to improve global economic transparency and is expanding its reach fast. As people try to measure their quantified selves, we know Google is keen on quantifying the whole world. Premise's food-pricing-focused data collection model could help that effort, if deployed in other areas.

As the world climbs out of recession, food inflation will become a growing topic of discussion. Premise is well-placed to raise its profile and demonstrate the use of data gathering technology through smartphones to measure vital information, which will make it an attractive target.

Learning Opportunities

In the enterprise and business segment, some of Google's investments are growing nicely. Optimizely offers A/B website testing and optimization, with instant deployment of changes that already has thousands of customers. That might not be too radical, but its simple tone of voice and range of pricing makes it seem a lot friendlier than some services.

Big on Mobile, Marketing

Naturally, a company like Google has many investments in mobile and marketing companies, from games, app and advertising solution developers, it has plenty going on. Social media and sharing are high on Google's agenda, as you'd expect.

For content and marketing businesses, there's forays socially-focused marketing effectiveness products like TrueLens to provide greater detail on buying intentions, influence, affinity, media habits and more. mParticle is another that offers a mobile data platform to catalog every detail of your users' interactions.

Other companies that Google Ventures has invested in cover the gamut of business from legal to payroll, cloud services, collaboration, transportation and other areas. Of course, there are plenty of rival companies out there competing alongside each of these, and Google is far from the only investor or buyer out there, but if you want a clue as to where the big web companies are headed, a look what they're investing in is well worth it.

Title image by mikeledray (Shutterstock).