It was muttered curiously by people in Bengaluru at a popular coffee shop. “Did you hear about the company Google acquired,” one told another. “They used to work right across the road.” Right across the road is Investopad. A co-working space and an incubator.

What they were talking about is the acquisition of Halli Labs by Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, on 12 July. Halli Labs was four months old. It was working, according to a few people familiar with the company, on a speech-to-text system, which was shelved soon after it was developed.