Google Buys SayNow to Boost Google Voice
Google confirmed Jan. 25 that it has acquired SayNow, a signal that the company wants to bring social applications into its Google Voice phone management platform.
"SayNow will work closely with the Google Voice team, but we don't have any specific plans to announce at this time," a Google spokesperson told eWEEK.
"We are impressed by the services they have already built, and we look forward to working together to expand our voice-based technologies that better connect people."
The startup, which has more than 15 million users, provides voice messaging, one-on-one conversations and group calls to be integrated into applications for Facebook and Twitter, as well as Android and iPhone.
For example, ESPN in October added SayNow's Voice App to its Facebook page, leaving a message from former head coach and player Mike Ditka.
Other apps such as SayNow Broadcast enable brands and celebrities to "broadcast and receive voice messages as well as chat one-on-one or in groups with their audience."
SayNow was founded by CEO Nikhyl Singhal and CTO Ujjwal Singh, who commented on joining Google:
"Through the Web, smartphones, and even land lines, our products brought communities together through the power of voice. And as Google has some of the best voice products in the world, we believe combining forces with the Google Voice team will let us innovate in new and unexplored areas."
Like Google, Singhal and Singh declined to comment on Google's product plans for SayNow but promised to reveal their work after integrating with Google.
It's not hard to guess where Google is going with SayNow, which sits at the intersection of two of the company's major focuses in 2011: voice communications and social software.
Google under co-founder Sergey Brin is layering social software throughout the company's Web services. Meanwhile, Google is also building out its Google Voice service, adding number portability and other tools.
It's possible the company will stitch Google Voice calling capabilities across its Web services, including providing click-to-call capabilities in the context of any social services it adds.
The idea would be to boost user engagement on Google.com, which is now getting beat in that area by Facebook.