Google's Latest Tech Buys: Video and Voice-Activated Search
Dec 3rd 2010 6:30PM
Updated Dec 3rd 2010 7:08PM
Google (GOOG) announced two new acquisitions in separate blog posts Friday: It has bought speech-synthesis software maker Phonetic Arts and video-distribution technology firm Widevine Technologies.
The U.K.-based Phonetic Arts acquisition will help the search giant improve its voice-activated search services, making them more "natural" and less robot-like," Mike Cohen, Google's manager of speech technology, says on the blog. "We are excited about their technology, and while we don't have plans to share yet, we're confident that together we'll move a little faster towards that Star Trek future," Cohen writes.
Additionally, Google, which already owns YouTube, the world's largest online-video site, stepped further into the video market with its deal to buy Seattle-based Widevine, which provides tools to help bring videos to a variety of different platforms and devices. The 11-year-old company was backed by investors such as Cisco Systems and Constellation Ventures.
"Widevine has made on demand services more efficient and secure for media companies, and ultimately more available and convenient for users," Google Vice President of Product Management Mario Queiroz blogs.
Google, which has a market value of about $183 billion, continues to snap up technology companies at a rapid pace. In July, the company agreed to buy airline fare-pricing platform ITA Software for $700 million, although that deal is still being reviewed by U.S. antitrust regulators. Earlier this week, Google reportedly offered about $6 billion for e-commerce coupon site Groupon.
Google didn't disclose its purchase price for either Widevine or Phonetic Arts.