Google acquires news stream service Wavii

Wavii screenshot
Image caption Wavii allows users to choose up to 12 topics when customising their news feed

Google has acquired news stream service Wavii for an estimated $30m (£18m).

Wavii, which was launched last year, offers customised news feed to users, summarising news stories, tweets and blogs related to their interests.

Apple had also been keen to buy the start-up. According to reports, it wanted to incorporate the technology in the Siri function of its devices.

Last month, Yahoo acquired a news summarisation app, Summly, for "dozens of millions" of pounds.

Yahoo subsequently added the facility to its iPhone app earlier this week.

Neither Google or Wavii have revealed the price of the deal, but most reports say it was about $30m.

Wavii was created by engineers who previously worked for Amazon and Microsoft and offers services via the web or as a smartphone app.

It is closely integrated with Facebook. That may change since the social network competes against Google+.

'Structured feed'

According to its website, Wavii claims that the basic idea behind its service is to summarise everything that users care about into a customised news feed on the lines of a Facebook wall.

"We knew that we really liked what Facebook did… clearly summarizing everything our friends are doing into a simple, structured feed, and adding in related events and photos," it explains.

"Why can't we get all of our news that way?

"Wavii set out to solve this by making a similar feed that covers every topic in the news you might want to follow… or as we sometimes describe it, to make Facebook out of Google," it adds.

Its connection with Facebook does not stop there. Along with allowing users to select at least 12 topics of interest it also detects their likes based on their previous Facebook activity.

It can process up to 1,000 articles per minute and then summarize the most important bits to the user via a personalized news feed.

"We do it by teaching computers to read everything that is reported or shared on the internet, and automatically produce interesting social content about it," it says on its site.

According to some analysts, the technology could be used by Google to improve search results for news stories.

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