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Google buys Cambridge start-up

Google Inc. has acquired Cambridge online marketing firm Incentive Targeting Inc., a five-year-old start-up that builds software for retailers to offer customers targeted promotions.

Google confirmed the deal Wednesday afternoon, but did not disclose financial terms. Incentive Targeting had raised nearly $4 million in early-stage funding, largely from area angel investing groups such as Launchpad Venture Group.

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Christopher Mirabile, comanaging director of Launchpad, posted a picture on Twitter Tuesday night that appeared to show employees of Incentive Targeting toasting the acquisition. Someone at the firm who answered the phone Wednesday morning referred media inquiries to Google.

On its website, the company said, “As part of Google, we will have the resources and expertise to continue the transformation of couponing from a way to give discounts to a way to build business. And, we can now work towards that vision as part of a company that improves the lives of hundreds of millions of people every day.”

The online search giant, headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., has scooped up Boston-area companies before and is currently in the midst of expanding its local office in Kendall Square. In 2010, Google bought another Cambridge company, travel technology firm ITA Software, for $700 million. That deal has provided the basis for much of Google’s new online travel services.

Michael B. Farrell can be reached at
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