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7/30/2008
08:16 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Google Acquires Omniso

Google, via the YouTube blog, on Wednesday said that it has purchased Omniso, a California-based social video startup.

Google, via the YouTube blog, on Wednesday said that it has purchased Omniso, a California-based social video startup.Omniso allows users of YouTube and other video sites to share videos in a variety of ways, annotate them with comments, edit videos, add and synchronize slide shows, and generally add information to videos to enhance the viewing experience.

The acquisition marks Google's second such deal this month. About two weeks ago, Google bought ZAO Begun, a Russian contextual advertising company, for $140 million.

Google would have to acquire 14 more companies by the end of the year to match the 16 it purchased in 2007. But perhaps the organizational indigestion that arises from trying to integrate too many companies has encouraged a more measured approach.

Even so, Google is rumored to be interested in acquiring Digg. But nothing has been announced and Google won't say either way.

As for Omniso, Google's YouTube team says,"[W]e're big fans of anything that lets people interact with online video and gives the YouTube community the chance to express themselves in creative ways."

Omniso's technology is impressive. Instead of posting a stack of inane, puerile comments below videos on sites like YouTube, Omniso's users can share their thoughts in comic book-style speech bubbles that overlay the video.

For an example, see this Omniso-powered defacement of a video of Steve Ballmer exhibiting just a bit too much enthusiasm at a developer conference.

No doubt wonderful things can also be done with Omniso.

If Google can figure out how to make that happen, it will reap rewards through greater user engagement and deeper social interaction. It will, in the parlance of the industry, become sticker.

How will potential YouTube advertisers react to a technology that looks like one of the better platforms for ridicule to emerge in recent years? Stay tuned.

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