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AOL Is Buying Start-Up Truveo to Bolster Video Search Offerings

January 11, 2006|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — America Online Inc. is acquiring a video search start-up that has built technology to more easily find the latest news, sports and other online video offerings.

The purchase of Truveo Inc., announced Tuesday, underscores the importance of video in drawing visitors to AOL's ad-supported sites, a big part of its year-old strategy of emphasizing free content over its declining access-subscription business.

Terms were not disclosed, but spokesman Nicholas Graham said it was the largest deal since the purchase of Advertising.com Inc. for $435 million in 2004.

Truveo's seven employees will become part of AOL's video and search team but will remain in Burlingame, Calif.

Online video is highly competitive, with Google Inc. just last week announcing plans to let content owners such as CBS Corp. and the National Basketball Assn. sell clips through the leading search site.

AOL and Google announced a partnership last month in which Google would, among other things, better integrate AOL's offerings in Google's fledging video service.

AOL already has multimedia search technology from Singingfish Inc., a Seattle firm the Time Warner Inc. unit bought in 2003.

With Truveo, AOL gets so-called Visual Crawling technology, which promises to more efficiently look for breaking news, sports and entertainment clips from sites such as Time Warner's own CNN, Walt Disney Co.'s ABC and competitors Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. It also finds user-generated submissions at Ourmedia.org and the like.

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