Google Buys Wavii, A Personalised News Startup Apple Wanted to Acquire

wavii-screenshotsTechCrunch reports that Google has acquired personalised news startup Wavii for “north of $30 million,” but that’s not why this is news over here. Apple was reportedly competing with Google to acquire the startup for its natural language processing (NLP) technology.

From TechCrunch:

Both Apple and Google were competing for the Seattle-based startup, and Google eventually won. Apple wanted the company, which developed its own aggregation technology and natural summarizaton algorithms, for its Siri division. The 25-person-strong team including founder Adrian Aoun will be moving down from Seattle to join Google’s Knowledge Graph division.

Wavii, available on the web as well as an iOS app, presents users with summaries of personalised news items from around the web with a social angle to it. The startup’s Natural Language Processing technology is valuable to both Google and Apple, explaining the $30 million price tag.

Ultimately, despite Apple’s huge cash stash of over $100 billion, Google agreed to pay more, emerging as the winner in the bidding war. One could argue that Google needed Wavii more since one of its core products — search — relies on NLP whereas Siri is just a feature on the iPhone. Previously, Google and Apple were in a similar bidding war over AdMob, the mobile advertising network, in which, again, Google emerged victorious.

Adding news to Siri seems like an obvious decision, and we wonder if Apple’s working on it as a part of iOS 7, despite this failed acquisition attempt.