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April 24, 2013

Google Snaps Up Wavii for $30M-Plus: Report

Technology Giant Wins Out Over Apple to Acquire Personalized-News Startup

Google has beat out Apple to acquire personalized-news startup Wavii for more than $30 million, according to “a legitimate source.”

Tech Crunch, citing a source, is reporting Wavii’s 25-person team, including company founder Adrian Aoun, will leave Seattle to join Google’s Knowledge Graph division.

Apple, apparently, had hoped to purchase the company to bolster its Siri division, but it is thought Google outbid the iPhone maker.

Yahoo made a similar acquisition last month, shelling out nearly $30 million to nab the news-reading app Summly from British teenager Nick D’Aloisio.

Wavii, which has been in operation for three years, describes itself as the app that makes Facebook out of Google.

“The same way you follow your friends on Facebook, you follow everything else on Wavii,” the site says.

The app allows users to select what topics they will follow — they can even follow fellow Wavii users. They then receive status updates about items in their news feed — this includes stories, images, videos, related data, and “other rich content.”

Like Faebook, Wavii users can react to each post in their news feed while the @mention allows users to start a discussion with other users.

Wavii’s Dan Lewis describes how the app works in a blog post: “Using something called ‘big-data machine learning,’ our technology pulls in everything being created across the Web in real-time (e.g., articles, blogs, tweets, pictures), figures out what’s going on, and builds the feed items for all these topics you care about.

“The key to making this technology work is teaching the computer to recognize the things we care about when they’re being talked about, even when they are expressed in tens or sometimes even hundreds of different ways, all without making too many mistakes. Once the computer has this, it can easily build the feed items you’re used to.”

So far, neither Google nor Wavii have commented on the rumors.