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Google acquires start-up to bolster YouTube editing

Omnisio's technology allows users to mix online videos and add comments

By Heather Havenstein
July 31, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Google Inc. on Wednesday acquired four-month-old Omnisio Inc. and said it plans to fold the start-up company's technology for mixing online videos and adding comments to videos into its YouTube video site. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The co-founders of Omnisio — Ryan Junee, Julian Frumar and Simon Ratner — have "tremendous expertise" in advanced video tools, which will be useful in efforts to find ways to improve the user experience of YouTube, said YouTube officials in a blog post announcing the acquisition.

"We're big fans of anything that lets people interact with online video and gives the YouTube community the chance to express themselves in creative ways," YouTube said in the post. "We believe we've only scratched the surface in terms of what's possible with online video, so stay tuned for other tools and features that will let you do even more with your videos."

While an online video editor is a good idea, YouTube has been unsuccessful in previous efforts to add the technology to the site, noted Philipp Lenssen, a blogger at Google Blogoscoped.

"Their YouTube Remixer was slow and somewhat feature-weak when it was released, and it was later removed," he noted. "Omnisio's editor was a working start but I'm sure there's still much more to improve in this space."

Frederic Lardinois, a blogger at ReadWriteWeb, added that Omnisio's product doesn't appear to be so advanced that Google couldn't have built it in-house.

"Chances are that Google was mostly interested in the talent at Omnisio — something they hint at in the announcement of the acquisition that mostly focuses on how great the expertise of the Omnisio team is and less on the actual technology behind Omnisio," he noted.

And because Omnisio already allows users to make their own videos by assembling clips from YouTube, Google Video and, the acquisition probably seemed like a good fit to Google, Lardinois added.

"It remains to be seen if using videos will remain an option after this acquisition if Google ever brings Omnisio back in some form," he noted. "Given the level of maturity of most YouTube commenters, it remains to be seen how useful this function is going to be when/if it gets integrated in YouTube. At least with the current commenting system, you can still stay away from the spam [and] flamewars."

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