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AOL Acquires Video Search Firm Truveo; Valued Higher Than Weblogs Inc Deal

It was only a matter of time before video search firm Truveo, Inc., co-founded by CEO Dr. Tim Tuttle and CTO Dr. Adam Beguelin in early 2004, was acquired. Turns out AOL picked up the Burlingame-based private company late last year, signing the deal Dec. 21 within months of the search engine’s actual launch. The team stays in California. No terms announced.

Have to admit to a little surprise that the acquirer is AOL but it makes sense. AOL has made steady strides in video search, beginning with its acquisition of Singingfish in late 2003 and continuing with the introduction of AOL Video Search last summer as part of its new portal strategy. The more video AOL creates and aggregates, the more vital search becomes. Press release.

Truveo uses a technology it calls “visual crawling” — think high-end web crawling with video. It will be integrated into AOL’s existing search and video.
Love the tantalizing line tucked at the bottom of the press release: “Truveo was AOL Inc.’s fifth announced corporate acquisition of 2005.” (The others: Music Now, Weblogs, Xdrive, Wildseed.) Have to wonder what they didn’t announce.

Rafat: So the AOL senior execs lied to me, outright…I asked them about Truveo acquisition in November, they completely denied it (the discussions were on then…no comment would have been better). Well, guys, so be it from now… OK, so I am not a morning person…that has been established.

This Reuters story says the deal was the largest purchase by AOL division in 2005 and smaller than the $435 million purchase of in 2004, this story says. Does that mean it is larger than the Weblogs Inc’ $25 million? I have doubts on that one…

Updated: Wow, I have it from reliable source that the deal was indeed more than the Weblogs Inc deal of $25 million. And this for what essentially is a technology deal, since it is still very early days for the company and industry in general to pay for a brand name and audience. The general consensus among the bidders (which included AskJeeves, who looked at the company very closely) was that this was the best video search technology among the ones out in the market…Blinkx was a lot of hot air, but not much more (not my words..). So AOL paid for the superior technology…

Staci adds: I’m hearing the price was at or around $50 million. More on that as we know it. Meanwhile, from an email memo making the rounds at AOL — Truveo will be part of AOL’s Audience Business. Co-founders Tuttle and Beguelin both become vice presidents in the AOL Video Unit.