Proof That Information Is Gold: Google Buys Wavii for $30 Million

Google has scooped up news aggregation summary service Wavii for $30 million, according to Reuters. (Google and Wavii haven’t officially commented yet.) Wavii’s service has been influenced by expert machine learning natural language processing work, as explained by founder and CEO Adrian Aoun in our interview here. In February, a blog on the site also explained its use of classification for NLP tasks like disambiguating entities, automatically learning new entities and relationship extraction. Late last year Wavii announced its iPhone app.

Reports have it that Google and Apple were in a bidding war over acquiring the venture, which has been likened to Yahoo’s Summly buyout in March (see story here). TechCrunch says the Wavii team will join Google’s Knowledge Graph division.
When it comes to delivering personalized intelligence about what’s up in the world, Wavii aims to better understand users and what they’ll want to see in their feeds not just via explicit topic follows, but also via various signals. These include which other topics are involved in the events they comment on, how often they click into events about each topic, what topics they search for and what topic pages they visit. It also includes other attributes of stories they care about besides the topics, and their interest level in a topic to guess what the interest might be in related topics.

When The Semantic Web Blog spoke with Aoun previously, he noted that even if Wavii on its own wasn’t a hit at conceptually organizing the web around events that occur, there was a lot of value in what Wavii was doing as it relates to marrying context intelligence and user understanding. Said Aoun, “The nice thing for us is our understanding of the user is … actually their interest graph, which is valuable, and then we put it in context.” he said. “Information is gold.”

Some $30 million worth of it, apparently.