Google’s desire for a deeper understanding of search queries has resulted in an acquisition. “Today, we’ve acquired Metaweb, a company that maintains an open database of things in the world,” Google announced in a blog post Monday. The acquiree, a San Francisco-based company, specializes in making better sense of words.
Google is counting on Metaweb’s semantic technology to come up with better answers to some “hard questions” posed by search engine users. It is trying to answer search queries more precisely.
“Type [barack obama birthday] in the search box and see the answer right at the top of the page,” Google’s Jack Menzel wrote in a blog post. “But what about [colleges on the west coast with tuition under $30,000] or [actors over 40 who have won at least one oscar]? These are hard questions, and we’ve acquired Metaweb because we believe working together we’ll be able to provide better answers.”
Metaweb’s open database, called Freebase, has over 12 million topics (aka entities) across thousands of categories. While it might come across as a Wikipedia-like collaborative knowledgebase, Freebase is unique in the way it identifies and interlinks these various entities. Google has chosen to “further develop Freebase and would be delighted if other web companies use and contribute to the data.”
New York-based URL shortener Bit.ly is being courted by a number of companies, chiefly among them is Yahoo. If Bit.ly were acquired by Yahoo, it would be another piece in what appears to be a big social media push from the former search king. Rumors have been flying for months that Yahoo is also in talks to buy up location-based social networking company Foursquare.
Yahoo has become more of a content company as Google has taken over direct search. Since Yahoo's user base is mostly about content consumption, it makes sense to use social media to make their existing properties more interactive. What they are looking at is social aggregation; pulling in their users' activities from around the web to a Yahoo hub.
Bit.ly's real usefulness is to Yahoo wouldn't be its ability to shorten URLs, but rather the performance tracking of shortened URLs. This is going to be an integral part of the real-time web. We're passing the point that delayed web metrics can be of use. Where do you see Yahoo's strategy going?
Dell has inked an agreement to purchase Scalent, a privately held company specializing in server and data center virtualization management software, the OEM announced.
:Scalent provides a critical building block for our Virtual Integrated System, the most open, capable and affordable converged infrastructure solution available," said Brad Anderson, Dell senior vice president, Enterprise Product Group. "This acquisition will solidify an important component of our enterprise solution portfolio. We know that Scalent software, in combination with Dell servers, storage and network platforms, provide increased efficiency and value for our customers. Scalent’s open architecture is an example of Dell’s ongoing commitment to provide customers with solutions that don’t lock them into proprietary hardware or gateways."
Dell said it plans to complete the acquisition by the end of the month. Once that happens, the OEM will focus on integrating Scalent's infrastructure software into its existing Advanced Infrastructure Manager (AIM) data center software package.
According to Google, "almost half of all airline tickets are sold online," so the sultan of search went and acquired flight information software company ITA Software, Inc. for a cool $700 million in cash.
"ITA's very talented team has created an impressive product to organize flight information," said Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google. "Their technology opens exciting possibilities for us to create new ways for users to more easily find flight information online, and we're looking forward to welcoming them to Google."
Google plans to capitalize on the acquisition by creating new flight search tools designed to streamline the process of finding and sifting through flight information for would-be travelers. The deal, which was approved by both companies, will eventually make Google a direct competitor to Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, and other online flight search engines.
This is the way of things; just as the sun sets in the west, so do companies fire people when they get acquired. Palm is reportedly laying off a number of employees now that the sale to HP is complete. No one is talking hard numbers right now. But considering the size of HP, it makes sense to ditch redundant administrative positions. We don't know if any engineers are getting the boot. Palm is going to need them to come back from the dead a second time.
Talking to All Things D, a Palm spokesperson said, "Part of the integration strategy is consolidation of functions and operations, as appropriate." We assume the staff was aware of this possibility, but it's still rough. Given HP's resources we hope these unfortunate employees get a nice severance package. After all, they stuck with Palm this far as others were jumping ship left and right.
Following months of paperwork, Hewlett-Packard on Thursday announced it had completed its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm and now plans to use the company's webOS platform for new tablets and netbooks.
"Under Jon Rubinstein, former Palm chairman and chief executive office, the Palm global business unit will report to Bradley," HP said in a statement. "Palm will be responsible for webOS software development and webOS based hardware products, from a robust smartphone roadmap to future slate PCs and netbooks."
HP acknowledged that, with its backing, webOS is expected to shine in the mobile market, something it was never really able to do under Palm's leadership.
"With webOS, HP will deliver its customers a unique and compelling experience across smartphones and other mobility products," said Todd Bradley, executive vice president, Personal Systems Group, HP. "This allows us the opportunity to fully engage in growing our smartphone family offering and the footprint of webOS."
Online retail giant Amazon has today announced that they have acquired the Woot family of sites. No specifics on how much Amazon paid for the site were released. Statements from the Woot staff indicate that the site will continue to operate much as it always has and will be an autonomous subsidiary of Amazon.
The arrangement is likely to be similar to that of Audible or Zappos which have changed little since being acquired by Amazon. Woot CEO Matt Rutledge said of the deal, " From a practical point of view, it will be as if we are simply adding one person to the organizational hierarchy, except that one person will just happen to be a billion-dollar company that could buy and sell each and every one of you like you were office furniture." Did we mention we love Woot's sense of humor?
Jeff Bezos is building himself quite the little empire. But rest assured fellow geeks, we have every reason to think you will still be able to try (and fail) to snag a Bag of Crap in the next Woot-Off.
Broadcom is set to make an all-cash offer to acquire Innovision Research & Technology PLC, an NFC (Near Field Communication) specialist that specializes in short-range data communication.
The deal, which is worth about $47.5 million, gives Broadcom access to a whole host of wireless technologies, but it's the NFC products that Broadcom is most interested in.
Broadcom didn't detail exactly what its plans are following the acquisition, though it's likely the company will integrate NFC with its existing wireless technologies, which includes Bluetooth, 3G, GPS, and Wi-Fi.
We have all heard the rough details of the Google AdMob buy. The deal was worth $750 million in cash and stock, but we had no idea how much of each was involved. Well, thanks to some SEC paperwork Google has filed, we finally know. It turns out El Goog used $530 million in stock for the deal. Most of the remainder, about $220 million, would have been cash.
We find this breakdown interesting. Google has more than enough cash reserves to have paid for the whole thing in cash. Google is currently way into the black with over $26 billion in cash. The AdMob folks must feel pretty confident that Google's stock will continue to increase in value. With the way the search giant is attacking new markets, we'd probably say that's a safe bet.
IBM has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Coremetrics, a privately held company based in San Mateo, CA that specializes in Web analytics software, IBM announced on Tuesday.
"With this acquisition, we are extending our capabilities to give clients greater insight about customer behavior and sentiment about products and services, and give true foresight into their future buying patterns," said Craig Hayman, general manager, IBM WebSphere. "Marketing departments can benefit from these capabilities very quickly because we are delivering this in a Software-as-a-Service model. The combination of IBM and Coremetrics will maximize marketing expenditures and also make the buying experience more convenient, personal and interactive for consumers."
The acquisition comes on the heels of IBM's recently 2010 CEO study, in which Big Blue reported 88 percent of CEOs plan to focus on getting closer to their customers in the next five years, while 82 percent said they want to better understand their customer needs. Some 85 percent of CEOs said they need more visibility into their business, and these are all areas IBM hopes this acquisition will them address.