When I was at AdTech way back in June I met with Karen Howe, CEO of Singingfish, an audio/video search engine. I believed then and still believe now that video and audio files will become integral to the grammar of the web, but first we have to solve major search and copyright issues. In any case, I enjoyed meeting her, but left feeling like they had a significant uphill battle – a very small company in a land of giants.
Well, no more. I was messing around on Google news earlier this afternoon and somehow I came across a very odd link from the Puget Sound Business Journal about Singingfish being sold to AOL. Google’s summary had details: the excerpt read “has acquired Seattle-based Singingfish Inc., which makes a search engine that scours the Web for audio and video files. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. … ” but when I clicked on the link, it took me to a story with the headline “MagnaDrive raises $3.5 million “. Turns out the Puget Sound Journal had jumped the gun on a embargoed story, and Google News grabbed it before they could swap it out. The news officially breaks tonight at midnight, but … you saw it here first!
As to what it all means – I find it a bit out of character for AOL to acquire a search engine – and even more so one of this stripe. AOL has formidable serving and personalization technology in house, but it’s never really been seen as a leader in search. It outsources that to Google – though it is true that Google does not do multimedia search (Alta Vista and AlltheWeb do). Is this a bid to change all that? Stay tuned, I’ll keep you posted.