Yahoo April 25 said it has acquired IntoNow, which built a software platform and iPhone application that learns what users are watching on TV and recommends the show to their friends via Facebook and Twitter.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, though tech blogs are reporting the purchase price was in the vicinity of $13 million to $30 million.
The IntoNow app, which launched in January, lets users point their iPhone at the TV screen and tap a button to automatically identify what users are watching via the show's audio waves.
With more than five years of U.S. TV programming indexed, the platform identifies content down to the airing, episode and time within the program, and provides program information and links associated with it within seconds.
Also known as the "TV check-in," the idea is to help users share info about or alert others to preferred TV programs, providing recommendations for what is currently airing based on their interests and those of people to whom they are connected.
Internet companies and application makers, such as Yahoo, Microsoft and Google, are increasingly trying to inject social components into their products because they know it increases user engagement for their Websites. Socialized TV is becoming a big part of the new Web TV movement fueled by Apple TV, Google TV, Roku, Boxee and others.
IntoNow helps bring the social Web to TV in real time.
"Relying on social channels as a means for discovering content-whether it's on a PC, mobile device or TV-is rapidly on the rise," said Bill Shaughnessy, senior vice president of product management and marketing at Yahoo.
Shaughnessy said he expects IntoNow to fortify Yahoo's video content, search, mobile and Connected TV experiences, "bolstering its social engagement across the Yahoo network and on all screens."
IntoNow CEO Adam Cahan, a former executive with Google and MTV, said in a blog post announcing the deal that selling to Yahoo will give IntoNow the scale it needs to reach more countries around the world.
While IntoNow works solely for the iPhone now, Cahan said he expects to expand the application to support devices based on Google's Android platform, Apple's iPad, as well as the Web.
Yahoo is desperate to boost user engagement after suffering traffic and revenue declines in search and its other properties. The Internet company saw its first-quarter revenue drop 24 percent from a year earlier.
Jim Friedland, an analyst at Cowen & Co., said there there's no sign of Yahoo's user engagement turning around despite the fact that it has integrated with both Facebook and Twitter to try to lure more users to its news, search and other Websites.