February 12, 2001 11:30 AM PST

Google buys remaining Deja.com business

Internet veteran Deja.com sold off the last of its parts to relative newcomer Google, ending a long and troubled run as an advertising-supported also-ran.

The acquisition of Deja.com, a discussion-group search site that launched a brief foray into product reviews, follows a series of layoffs at the company and a search for buyers that has been "serious" since the fall, according to a Deja.com executive.

Deja.com has made a series of job cuts since its September layoffs, which reached executives. Before that, the company withdrew its bid for an initial public offering, a bid that had languished for a year after being filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Despite closing out the final chapter in a six-year saga, Deja.com executives sounded upbeat about the acquisition.

"We think Google is a great home for this service," said Richard Gorelick, chief strategy officer. "Our service and their service work very well together."

Deja.com originated as Dejanews, a site for searching and participating in discussion groups carried on the Internet's Usenet network. It changed its name to Deja.com when it decided to focus on product reviews by consumers. The company subsequently added information on consumer products, making it a competitor to sites such as mySimon, which is owned by CNET Networks, publisher of News.com.

In December, the company succeeded in selling the consumer-review Web site to eBay's Half.com.

With today's acquisition, Google acquires Deja.com's Usenet search technology, including the Usenet archive, the Deja.com trademarks, the code and systems that operate the Usenet service, and some other intellectual property.

But Deja's staff may not necessarily find a new home with the buyer. Google is in negotiations over whether to bring any of Deja.com's few remaining employees on board. The acquired company had shrunk from about 140 employees before the September layoffs to about 60 before the sale to eBay and about 20 before the sale to Google.

Terms of neither the eBay nor the Google deals were disclosed. The service will relocate from New York to Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Google will take over Deja's New York office and eventually shut down the company's Austin office.

The Usenet search service is now available at groups.google.com, though Google has yet to plug in the entire Deja archive of 500 million messages.

 

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