Google said last night it had acquired video-conferencing software from Swedish company Marratech. The wording of the company’s blog post on the matter, titled “Collaborating with Marratech,” is far more casual than blogosphere headlines resulting from it, proclaiming Google had bought the company outright.
Google explained Marratech’s technology will help “enable from-the-desktop participation for Googlers in videoconference meetings wherever there’s an Internet connection,” but nobody’s buying that explanation, thinking instead that the company wants to add video to Google Talk.
This morning I spoke to Milton Chen, founder of a video-conferencing startup named VSee, which competes with Marratech. Chen had previously told me that teams at Google used his software to collaborate internally. He was able to shed a little more light on the deal, saying that while Google had not tried to acquire VSee or its technology outright, it had attempted to hire away his staff. Why? “They’ve tried to extend Google Talk with video for many months.”