Google Acquires Applied Semantics

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(AP) Online search leader Google Inc. on Wednesday announced the acquisition of Internet advertising specialist Applied Semantics, continuing a recent push to develop more marketing tools.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Both Mountain View, Calif.-based Google and Santa Monica, Calif.-based Applied Semantics are privately held.

Applied Semantics makes software designed to link online ads with the content being called up on a Web page.

Although it’s best known as the maker of the Web’s most popular search engine, Google has been intensifying its focus on advertising.

Besides running a search engine powered by algorithmic formulas, Google also maintains a commercial database of advertisers that bid to display their Web links alongside the objective search results.

It has become a boom business for Google and one of its biggest rivals, Overture Services, which registered a $73 million profit last year.

Google said it intends to retain Applied Semantics’ Southern California office.

Applied Semantics, founded in 1998, has about 40 employees. Most of them will join Google, a Google spokesman said.

The newspaper industry has partnered with both Google and Applied Semantics on sponsored advertising links. In partnership with Google, Knight Ridder recently began running contextual advertiser links alongside some stories. And Gannett’s USAToday.com is now in the second test of paid links with Applied Semantics.

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