VirusTotal operates by accepting requests for virus checks, running every available protection software on the questioned document or pages, then distributing the results to security vendors.
Because those results include the documents and websites submitted, the service is considered a valuable source of information by the security industry about emergent threats and potential targets.
"VirusTotal will continue to operate independently, maintaining our partnerships with other antivirus companies and security experts," the startup said in a blogpost announcing the acquisition.
"We've worked hard to ensure that the services we offer continually improve. But as a small, resource-constrained company, that can sometimes be challenging."
Google did not disclose the amount it paid, and did not respond to requests for comment.