Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Nov. 10 confirmed it acquired
in-page search specialist Apture for an undisclosed sum, a move to bolster the
company’s search experience in its Chrome Web browser.
Apture makes software called Highlights that publishers
such as Hearst, the Reader’s Digest and Financial Times embed in their Websites
to let readers search within Web pages.
Readers highlight words in an article
on a Web page supported by Apture to see a small, overlay browser
window that provides links to contextually relevant text, videos,
photos and more information about the highlighted
Apture content is a vector for Google. While Apture sources for text
include links to TechCrunch, Flickr, Twitter, and Wikipedia, they are
delivered by Google’s search engine. Moreover, the video options point
users to Google’s YouTube property and the pictures are gleaned from
Google’s Image Search product.
Apture also makes a Highlights browser extension so that users
visiting Websites in Chrome Mozilla Firefox, or Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Safari
Users can install the extensions, highlight words on any Website and
see more info about the content. EWEEK installed the Chrome extension and found it worked quite well for highlighting sports terms on ESPN.com.
Google liked Apture enough that it had to have the technology
to tuck into its Web browser, which has well over 200 million users and
continued to gain share through October.
“We were impressed by the Apture
team’s approach to enhancing the Web browser experience, and we think their
expertise will complement the Chrome team’s efforts in this area,” a
Google spokesperson told eWEEK.
“After enhancing more than a billion pages with our
products, we think now is the best time to expand our efforts with
just down the road that shares our vision of making the web better…
we’ve been acquired by Google and will be joining the Chrome team to
continue driving innovation
and creating a better user experience on the Web,” Apture said in a
on its homepage.
Google will likely make Apture’s technology an optional
feature Chrome users can check a box to turn on in subsequent versions of the
Google’s goal with the move hews to Apture’s raison d’etre: boosting
user engagement on Web pages to keep users searching longer, enabling
Google to make more ad dollars.
TechCrunch has an interview
with Apture Co-founder Tristan Harris, who said Apture’s plug-ins would
be shut down in a month or so, that’s worth a read. Also, read ReadWriteWeb’s interview and analysis.
The acquisition brings the number of purchases by Google
in 2011 to nearly 60 companies, ranging from giant buys such as ITA Software
for $676 million, to smaller fish such as Apture and social media concern Katango,
which the company also purchased Nov. 10.
Google told the Securities and Exchange Commission it had
shelled out over $1.4 billion for 57 companies through Oct. 20.