Google beat out Apple in the battle to acquire Wavii, a natural language processing (NLP) startup. The yet-to-be-announced deal cost Google approximately $30 million, unnamed sources told Reuters.
Apple’s interest was based on using Wavii’s NLP to improve Siri, their voice-activated personal assistant feature, while Google hopes to integrate it across all platforms, including Google Knowledge and Google Now, its Siri alternative.
This move by Google follows in the footsteps of Yahoo, who recently acquired Summly — a news reader app founded by London teen Nick D’Aloisio. Summly and Wavii recognized each other as competitors and both were perceived as threats to Yahoo and Google’s news sites. Summly condenses articles into short, informative paragraph and boasts its user-interaction. Wavii touts its advanced technology and custom algorithm that condenses news into a few words or sentences.
The Seattle-based Wavii had acquired $2 million in funding prior to the Google deal from investors, including former Facebook executive Dave Morin and Paypal co-founder Max Levchin. The team of 25 employees, including Founder Adrian Aoun, are expected to move to the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.
Google and Wavii have yet to comment on the deal, but news was first reported by TechCrunch.