Google Eyes Social News Aggregator Wavii - InformationWeek
Mobile // Mobile Devices
06:39 PM
Connect Directly

Google Eyes Social News Aggregator Wavii

Acquisition deal is worth $30 million, according to reports.

5 New LinkedIn Tools
5 New LinkedIn Tools
(click image for slideshow)
Google is said to have acquired Wavii, a social news gathering start-up based in Seattle, Wash., for $30 million.

Google declined to comment on the acquisition, which has been reported by Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch.

TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington is one of several high-profile Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to have invested in Wavii. Others include: Ron Conway, Aydin Senkut, Mitch Kapor, Dave Morin, Shawn Fanning, Keith Rabois, Joshua Schachter, Paul Buchheit, Rick Marini, Max Levchin and Fritz Lanman.

Wavii was founded in 2009 by Adrian Aoun, who once worked for Microsoft. The company's service is available on the Web or in the form of an iOS app. Its software aggregates and summarizes content from social networks, news sources and other websites and attempts to present material that matches user interests, as determined by machine learning.

[ Want to know more about Wavii? Read Wavii: New Kind Of News Gatherer. ]

Yahoo recently paid a similar amount for Summly, a competing news summarization application. The ability to generate automated editorial content appeals to companies like Google and Yahoo because increasing the scale of the service won't bring a proportional increase in editorial labor costs.

Companies like Narrative Science have made computer-generated sports stories a reality. It won't be long before major platform companies deploy automated summarization systems to frame and promote high-value human-generated content on their social networks. While Google no doubt welcomes witty summaries posted to Google+ as preludes to linked content, human insight may not always be necessary to drive online traffic.

As it happens, machine learning at Wavii relies on humans, who guide the software when it fails to grasp nuanced meanings and linguistic ambiguity.

Wavii extends the Twitter model of following people so that users can follow topics, at least that's the theory. In practice, following a topic means following a product, company or discrete entity, like "Google Chrome" rather than abstract concepts like "subversive statements" or "irony-challenged celebrities."

According to Reuters, Google's bid for Wavii followed an expression of interest from Apple, which was looking at Wavii's natural language technology as a way to augment its Siri software. Google could end up using Wavii's technology to enhance its Knowledge Graph semantic search system, its Google Now predictive search system and its growing store of social network data.

Wavii represents Google's fourth acquisition this year. The pace of Google acquisitions slowed significantly last year. In 2012, Google acquired 11 companies, 15 fewer than it acquired in 2011 and 16 fewer than in 2010.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Vasileios Salapatas
Vasileios Salapatas,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/29/2013 | 2:21:48 PM
re: Google Eyes Social News Aggregator Wavii
Just have a look at the free, open source, news summarization app "NewSum", that will be available to everyone in a few days!
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll