Google buys search start-up Wavii

April 24, 2013
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Sometimes Google buys a start-up, and does next to nothing with it. Sometimes they buy Android and YouTube, and end up defining who they are with those acquisitions. Wavii has a chance to be on the latter end of that spectrum.

Today, we learn that Google has purchased the Seattle-based start-up for over $30 million. The exact terms are not known, but we do know Wavii will be absorbed into the Google knowledge graph team. Both Apple and Google were in serious discussion for Wavii, and they have an app in beta for iOS, but Google ended up winning out.

What does Wavii do?

Wavii is interesting, in that it aggregates news. Rather than have to search out topics, Wavii can feed you the info you’re looking for. Right now, Wavii is a standalone platform… almost like social media for news and information. Rather than expect to see that ported straight over, we should assume that what Wavii has to offer will be parsed out.

As contextual data becomes more important, and Google designs products like Glass to take advantage of it, what Wavii accomplishes becomes more important. Considering they will be absorbed into knowledge graph, we can also expect search to continue to improve. Perhaps this will be baked straight in, or even give a separate layer of results.

Say you search for ‘Samsung Galaxy S4’ pretty often, then search for ‘HTC One’ at some point. Perhaps search would know your habits, and suggest comparisons of the two devices. If you search pretty regularly for the GS4, it’s a good assumption you’re doing a little comparative shopping. This has the possibility to add a depth to your use of Google products that has yet to be realized.

How it fits in

It’s also possible that the aggregate could work its way into other services, like Google+. Wavii, in its own way, challenges Google+ by offering a communication layer. If that could be implemented into what is already on offer, it only adds depth to Google+. With Google+ comments coming to Blogger posts, it’s conceivable that we could start seeing the same in search results.

Of course, Google Now is the best example for an immediate use-case scenario, as we already see cards similar to what Wavii is trying to accomplish. Those don’t really aggregate the news, just give you stories based on recent searches. Wavii could streamline and improve on that function, and quickly.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though. With Google, it all comes back to the source, and that’s search. Everything Google does boils down to one thing, and that’s generating ad revenue through search. While that sounds a bit clandestine, we should embrace it. The more revenue Google can generate via ads, the better. By doing so, all those products we love, like Maps or Google Drive, are free… and pretty awesome. So if they can generate better results for us, and generate revue doing so, we should be behind that 100%.

We’ll be curious to see just what comes of Wavii. There are tons of use cases we can imagine for the service, but it’s doubtful we’ll see some kind of Wavii app or anything. This will be one of those acquisitions we don’t see later on, and those have the ability to have a deeper impact than others that are seen.

Don’t take our word for it, though. There is a video below from the Wavii team, which better explains what they do… or did, I guess. Take a look, and let us know how you think it could be implemented into the Google ecosystem. We’re sure to see great things from this.

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