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Google buys start-up to bolster YouTube

Google said on its YouTube blog that it has acquired Omnisio, a video editing and annotation service, for an undisclosed amount (although TechCrunch estimates the deal at $15 million). Omnisio will dovetail nicely with Google's YouTube video site, enabling YouTube users to mix and edit together different videos as well as overlay comments over specific frames. It could also be a clever way to help Google monetize the site.

Google watch's Clint Boulton says Microsoft briefly looked at buying up Omnisio in March and quickly saw its monetization potential. As Microsoft's acquisition chief said at the time:

There is an obvious advertising play here. Omnisio could insert a short video ad anywhere in your custom clip. It also collects lots of meta data (tags, comments, links) that help describe the video for better ad targeting.

The caveat here is that the commenting/annotating part of the service can quickly get out of hand, as Blogoscoped's Philipp Lenssen notes. Since the annotations are a collaborative-type tool, in which anyone watching can decide to overlay a comment, YouTube/Google will need to figure out a way to limit notes to ensure they don't completely swamp the video.

But if they get it right, they may just have hit on a way to make some ad dollars from YouTube, something that's been needed for a while.

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