SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc. (GOOG.O) said on Tuesday it has bought Internet security startup GreenBorder Technologies Inc., which creates secure connections to protect e-mail and Web users from malicious or unwanted computer code.
Terms of the deal, which closed in mid-May, were not disclosed, according to Google spokesman Aaron Zamost.
GreenBorder, a venture-backed startup founded in 2001 and based in Mountain View, California, where Google is also headquartered, offers security software that sets up temporary, virtual sessions each time a computer users surfs the Web, then discards the resulting data once the user is finished surfing.
The software allows technicians to insulate corporate networks so that malicious code hidden inside e-mail, instant messages or Web sites is automatically detected and contained.
Gartner analyst Neil MacDonald has said GreenBorder’s “virtualization” technology competes with software offerings from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O) and EMC Corp.’s EMC.N VMware, as well as various rival startups.
Virtualization, one of the hottest trends in software, refers to techniques that separate physical computer hardware from the software used to run the machine.
As computer networks become more complex, virtualization disguises the underlying complexity of basic computer functions for users while allowing network technicians to manage the software more efficiently and securely.
Unlike virtualization software from rivals requiring multiple Windows licenses for each corporate user, GreenBorder insulates the Microsoft Windows system from the underlying computer hardware and only requires a single license for Windows, MacDonald said.
Zamost declined to comment on how Google plans to incorporate GreenBorder software into its own Web services but said it could be used across a range of Google products.
The technology creates a secure zone, called a sandbox, for online interaction. “Any type of activity and interaction, while you are on the Internet, will be directed to the protected environment,” according to GreenBorder’s site.
It creates a green border around the edge of each Web page a user visits to assure the user that they are protected from viruses and other malicious code — hence the name.
GreenBorder has suspended new purchases or downloads of its software following the Google acquisition but continues to provide some support for existing customers on its site through the end of their current subscriptions, the site said.
When it unveiled its corporate product in 2005, GreenBorder charged a little under $100 per user. It also offered a free version for non-commercial users.
GreenBorder was financed by venture capital firms including Sevin Rosen Funds and Labrador Ventures.
Google’s purchase came to light in a post on independent blog Google Operating System on Monday.