Google bought Widevine, ostensibly to bolster its YouTube Website with video optimization and digital rights management technology.
Google Dec. 3 picked up digital rights management
software maker Widevine
for an undisclosed sum, providing a fresh measure of
content protecting for its YouTube property it currently doesn't offer.
Widevine's software improves the quality of video and
audio content delivered via the Web and ensures copyrighted work isn't pirated
across more than 250 million Internet-enabled devices.
This includes devices that power the new Google TV
service, such as the Logitech Revue and Sony Internet TVs and Blu-ray
players, as well as software platforms such as Google's Android operating system, Apple's iOS platform
and Nintendo's Wii, according
to the Seattle Times
. Best Buy and Netflix are also Widevine customers.
stressed that it will maintain Widevine's existing business arrangements and
will continue to provide direct support for the company's existing and future
Mario Queiroz, vice president of product management for
Google, declined to comment on exactly how Google will apply the Widevine technology
other than to say it would enhance Widevine's existing DRM products and
Google's own services.
Queiroz did say the Widevine assets and talent would be
used to "improve access to great video content across the Web."
Positioned thusly, the buy paves the way for Google to accommodate
the glut of video content now flooding the Web from YouTube, and by extension, YouTube Leanback on Google TV.
Some 35 hours of
content, mostly short-length clips, is uploaded each minute on YouTube, which gets more than 2 billion page views per day.
Widevine customer Netflix, meanwhile, is the most popular
streaming Website for full-length movies and television series' of all types.
The Netflix app for Apple's iPad has proven popular, and is also a major draw as
a preinstalled app on Google TV.
YouTube and Netflix content, as well as material from
other providers, is streamed instantly to Web-connected TVs, smartphones,
tablets and traditional desktops and laptops on the strength of speedier
broadband and wireless access.
"Content creators and distributors are making huge
strides in bringing us content in this way, but to do so, many require
high-quality video and audio, secure delivery and other content protection and
video optimization technologies," Queiroz explained in a blog post
"The Widevine team has worked to provide a better
video delivery experience for businesses of all kinds: from the studios that
create your favorite shows and movies, to the cable systems and channels that
broadcast them online and on TV, to the hardware manufacturers that let you
watch that content on a variety of devices.
The purchase comes one day after Google enhanced
content protection and piracy
This included the pledge to respond to takedown requests
for copyrighted content served on its Google.com search and Blogger properties
within 24 hours of verifying requests from valid rightsholders.
Google's closing on Widevine also comes the same day it
purchased speech synthesis specialist Phonetic Arts, and hours before talks to purchase
coupon giant Groupon fizzled.
Google has easily been the
most acquisitive high-tech giant in 2010, snapping up more than 40 companies.