Google acquired the company Wavii for a little more than $ 30 Million in April. There was some speculation that Wavii was an effort to match Yahoo’s purchase of Summly, which summarizes news from the Web.
A Wavii app did do just that – acquired and summarized news from the Web. When Wavii emerged from stealth mode, it was touted as a personalized news aggregator based upon topics rather than keywords. The app closed down with Google’s acquisition of the company, and instead of providing news aggregation services, it appears that the technology will help fuel Google Now, Google’s Knowledge Base, and Google Glass, according to the TechCrunch article linked above.
A couple of weeks ago, a federal bankruptcy judge approved the sale of Kodak’s patent portfolio to a group of companies that joined together to buy them at a discounted price. The group included Apple, Google, Facebook, and others. There were more than 1,000 patents involved, related to photography, storing photos, and sharing photos.
It makes sense for Google to have been interested in those patents, considering their involvement in smart phones with cameras, and their work on Google Glass, where taking pictures and recording video will likely be one of its strengths.
With Google Fiber, Android Operating Systems, and Motorola Phones, the business of Google is becoming as much about moving data across networks as it is in sending search data across networks. I noticed in Google’s patent assignments today a new entry which shows more movement in this direction.
Google acquired 58 patents from Proxim Wireless Corporation in an assignment noted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as having been executed on July 9th, 2012, and recorded on August 7th, 2012. The USPTO doesn’t include any of the financial details of the transaction. Proxim Wireless still has a number of patents left in their portfolio, and the Proxim Wireless website is still online.
One of the biggest names in peer to peer technology is Skype. In 2008, Skype settled with Mangosoft Technologies in a patent infringement case over a patent apparently related to “dynamic directory service”. Mangosoft’s victory in the case wasn’t enough to keep the company thriving and in May, Mango Capital announced that their subsidiary, MangoSoft Intellectual Property, Inc., sold all of its patent rights for $3.2 million.
While Google used peer-to-peer technology in GMail video, the company blogged a couple of days ago that that video communication service would be replaced with Google Hangouts and no longer rely upon peer-to-peer technology.
Google was assigned 9 granted patents and 4 pending patents from Mangosoft Intellectual Property Inc., as noted in an assignment executed on May 1, 2012 and recorded on July 31, 2012. Among the patent filings is a granted patent and 2 pending patents titled “Dynamic Directory Service.” This directory service “maintains a directory in which is stored both (1) directory information and (2) the physical layout of the directory itself” over the network itself rather than in a centralized location.
A Google spokesman said in a statement that the company is always looking for better ways to help users share content and connect across the web, as in daily life. “With the Meebo team’s expertise in social publisher tools, we believe they will be a great fit with the Google+ team,” the company said. “We look forward to closing the transaction and working with the Meebo team to create more ways for users to engage online.”
Meebo started off life as an IM chat program that featured interoperability with a host of other instant messaging programs. I remember using it years ago in place of the Yahoo chat program which used to cause my computer to crash. In December of 2008, Meebo introduced the Meebo Bar, which enabled webmasters to set up chat on their website for people to use to interact with each other. The Meebo Bar also provided social sharing tools and advertising, including games from advertisers.
At the time of the agreement to acquire Meebo announced earlier today, Meebo had 11 pending patents assigned to them at the USPTO and one granted patent. It appears that the Meebo product team will be joining Google to work on Google Plus, while many of the sales and marketing team might be looking for new jobs.
Google is expanding into areas that we probably couldn’t have anticipated or guessed they might charge into only a few years ago, and it looks like they are being careful to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s along the way. A division of Circuit City developed video technologies in the late 90s that could be useful in today’s age of internet video rentals, including ways to restrict access of videos to people who rented them, and technology to help keep those videos from being pirated.
Last spring, it appears that those patents went up for sale. At the USPTO assignment database, Google was assigned the patents in an assignment executed on March 9, 2012, and recorded on April 20, 2012. No telling when Google actually purchased the patents, or what the terms of the deal were, but Google did announce last May that they would start offering movies for rent on the Android market, as well as making rental videos available on a YouTube Store in April.
Google introduced an entertainment hub they call Google Play this March, and you can rent videos there. The Android Market became part of Google Play when it launched.
Google appears to be continuing a trend that sees it acquiring intellectual property from some of the most well known names in the technology field (including Xerox, IBM, Hewlett Packard, and other acquisitions), by acquiring 36 granted patents from Unisys Corporation, in an assignment that was recorded at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on April 17th, and executed on February 29th, 2012.
The patent office doesn’t record information such as the financial terms of the transfer. Unisys will be reporting upon its first quarter 2012 financial results next Tuesday, April 24th, and maybe we’ll find out more then.
Last week, Google announced that they would be developing a pair of augmented reality glasses that would present informational displays to users based upon voice and motion commands, at their Google Plus Project Glass page. The announcement was accompanied by a video showing a mockup demo of how the glasses might work:
Google acquired three patents from former Indy 500 driver Dominic Dobson’s Motion Research Technologies, Inc., on March 30th, according to the USPTO’s patent assignment database. The assignment was recorded by the patent office as taking place on April 12th, 2012. The patents appear to have gone up for sale originally in March of 2011. A followup post on the Project Glass page responded to questions as to whether Google’s Glasses might work with prescription glasses. Interestingly, one of the patents acquired describes how it might work with eyeglasses as well: