Search giant Google Inc. is said to be interested in buying Redwood City, Calif.-based Riya/Ojos Inc., a maker of photo searching technology.
The rumored deal spotlights how search engines are focusing more on the caliber of their services, rather than just building the most extensive possible catalog of Internet locales.
Riyas products can supposedly identify faces and read the text captured in photos. That level of recognition is a quantum leap for Internet search engines, now organizing photos and videos mainly based on written descriptions.
Google is particularly motivated to deal because its online photo services are being bested by rival Yahoo Inc., according to blogger Om Malik.
"If this company ends up in the hands of Yahoo, well as far as photos go, its end game!," Malik warns.
An eWeek.com source speaking on condition of anonymity said the two sides are engaged in talks. Both Malik and Niall Kennedy have recently reported on rumors of a possible Google/Riya tie-up.
Representatives for Riya, Riyas financial backers Leapfrog Ventures and BlueRun Ventures, plus search giant Google didnt immediately respond to requests for comment.