January 10, 2006 8:53 AM PST

AOL acquires video search engine Truveo

America Online has acquired video search company Truveo, a purchase that comes at a time when top Internet companies are jumping into the video-on-demand business.

AOL announced the deal Tuesday morning but declined to disclose what it paid for the 12-employee company. AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said that it was an all-cash transaction and was the largest acquisition AOL has made since paying $435 million for interactive marketing company Advertising.com in June 2004.

"Clearly online video is a mass market phenomenon," said Kevin Conroy, AOL executive vice president of media networks. "It's important for consumers to have the best means to find what they are looking for--and the video searches up to this point are not as good as text search."

Yahoo, Google, Reuters and Amazon.com are just a few of the players who have boosted their video offerings in recent months.

Video search technology generally relies on finding and parsing through text documents, said Tim Tuttle, CEO and co-founder of Burlingame, Calif.-based Truveo.

"But if you look at video sites, there is little text information available about the video and what the video is about," he said.

Truveo's Web crawler can understand visual characteristics to help return more accurate search results, Tuttle said.

AOL's agreement with Truveo closed on Dec. 21, 2005. Truveo was previously privately held and financed by investors, AOL said in a statement.

Truveo was founded in January 2004. The company launched its video search engine technology last September. AOL plans to fold Truveo into its existing video and search divisions.

 

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