The news reporting of NearSt's tie-up with Google is another story of a successful UK technology startup. From the perspective of a patent attorney, it is especially interesting to note that patents do not appear to have been a central part of NearSt's success to date. 

It is not clear whether any of the technology underlying this invention was (or is) patentable, but it might be an example of the adage that not all patentable ideas are necessarily commercially valuable and not all commercially valuable ideas are necessarily patentable. As I have mentioned before, patents are a business tool, not and end in themselves.

That said, there is plenty in this type of technology that could be patentable. Whilst patents are not a prerequisite for success, a wise business strategy should consider them, even if the eventual choice is made not to pursue them.