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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

April 23, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Report: Google buying Seattle news venture Wavii for $30 million plus

TechCrunch is reporting that Google is buying Seattle news feed startup Wavii for more than $30 million.

Wavii uses natural language processing to automatically generate status updates on topics such as politics, celebrities and gadgets. The company was started by Microsoft veteran and angel investor Adrian Aoun and began operating publicly a year ago.

TechCrunch’s report said Apple and Google were both bidding for Wavii, and that its 25-person team will be moving from Seattle to Google offices in the Bay Area. Wavii goodbye, despite all the new office space coming to Google’s Kirkland campus.

Wavii seems like it was built to help Google in its growing rivalry with Facebook — it set out to build a better version of Facebook’s news feeds by “teaching computers to read everything that is reported or shared on the internet, and automatically produce interesting social content about it,” according to the company’s description of itself.

The idea is, “as we sometimes describe it, to make Facebook out of Google,” Wavii says on its site.

Aoun appears to be an investor in Crunchfund, the investment group started by TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington. Perhaps that explains the “legitimate source” that told TechCrunch about the Wavii deal.

I’ve asked both companies for comment and will update this if I hear back.

UPDATE: A Google spokeswoman said the company doesn’t comment “on rumor or speculation.”

 

 

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