Google buys SayNow social voice platform

SayNow offers applications that integrate voice with social media

Google has scooped up SayNow, a company with a platform that enables social voice applications.

Based in Palo Alto, California, SayNow's platform supports applications used by celebrities and sports figures to communicate with groups. For instance, the musical artist Souljaboy used a SayNow phone number to let fans listen to his voice messages, potentially talk to him and interact with each other. SayNow says that the Souljaboy phone number is the most called seven-digit phone number ever.

SayNow announced the acquisition in a note on its Web site. It said the company would combine forces with the Google Voice team. "We have no specific product plans to announce at this time, but we'll have more to say about our roadmap as we integrate with Google, so stay tuned," the note said.

In a statement, Google said it was "thrilled" to make the acquisition. "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," it said.

The companies did not say how much the acquisition was worth.

The company did offer at least one app geared toward business users, although it doesn't appear to be available anymore. Big Call was a conference call app for iPhone and Android users that let a call moderator choose participants from their contacts list and the application would set up the call without requiring people to dial into a specified line. The app is no longer available in the iPhone App Store.

SayNow has opened its platform to third parties so that others can build applications on it.

The technology from SayNow will join other phone technologies at Google. In addition to its Android mobile operating system, the company offers Google Voice, a service that lets people combine multiple lines under one phone number and one voicemail box. Google just recently started letting people port their existing mobile phone numbers to become their primary Google Voice number. Previously, Google would assign users a new phone number.

Just before announcing plans to step down as CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt wrote a column in the Harvard Business Review noting that all of Google's goals for this year are mobile-related.

Google has maintained a healthy acquisition clip over the past year. Other acquisitions during that time include Slide, Angstro, Jambool, and Like.com. It also announced plans to buy ITA Software, although that deal may come under review by the U.S. Department of Justice due to antitrust concerns.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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Tags business issuesGoogletelecommunicationMergers / acquisitions

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
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