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Google Acquires Omnisio

Maybe to counter some of the bad news around YouTube today, Google just announced the acquisition of the Y Combinator funded video annotation and mashup company Omnisio. According to Google, the acquisition of Omnisio will allow them to keep pushing the envelope of what is possible with online video. Neither Google nor Omnisio have commented on the price of the acquisition, but it is clear that the Omnisio team is going to join YouTube.

In the typical fashion of Google’s latest acquisitions, sign-ups for Omnisio are now closed. Instead, Omnisio now redirects users to YouTube and its (relatively limited) annotation function.

As with so many Google acquisitions, Omnisio’s product doesn’t seem to be so advanced as that Google couldn’t produce it in-house as well. 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.

Besides video annotations, Omnisio also allowed its users to make their own videos by assembling clips from blip.tv, YouTube, and Google Video. Clearly, Omnisio was already working closely with YouTube’s assets, so this acquisition probably seemed like a natural fit, though it remains to be seen if using blip.tv videos will remain an option after this acquisition if Google ever brings Omnisio back in some form.

Users could also use Omnisio to synchronize slide shows with video clips. In many respects, Omnisio was similar to Viddler, which also has comments as its main distinctive feature, though Google, of course, also already allows its video publishers to add annotations to their videos.

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, flamewars, and ubiquitous “that sux” comments.

Here is an example of Omnisio’s annotation technology in action:

Omnisio company profile provided by TradeVibes

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