Google to Buy Two Startups to Bolster Video Ads, Mobile

Google Inc. (GOOG), owner of the world’s most popular Internet search engine, is acquiring smartphone-messaging application Emu and video-creation service Directr Inc., bolstering its mobile and advertising capabilities.

Emu’s service, which offers “texting, with a built-in assistant,” integrates with other smartphone services, so users can schedule calendar events, share locations or look up restaurants and movies via the app. Directr will join the advertising team at Google’s YouTube, making it easier for marketers to create and upload videos, the company said. Terms of the deals weren’t disclosed.

Google has been stepping up acquisitions as it seeks to broaden its offerings to woo businesses and consumers to its online and mobile services. The company more than tripled spending on deals in the first half of the year to $4.2 billion, according to a filing last month.

Emu’s app will be shut down as it joins Google, according to the startup’s website. The acquisition of Palo Alto, California-based Emu, whose corporate name is Tinker Square Inc., follows much larger deals in mobile messaging. Facebook Inc., the biggest social-networking service, earlier this year agreed to acquire WhatsApp Inc. for about $19 billion.

Google already offers several services that are integrated with mobile devices, including calendars, maps and e-mail, along with an operating system, Android. A service called Google Now incorporates some of these features, sending users reminders about shopping lists or alerts when there might be traffic problems, for example.

Boston-based Directr will continue to help businesses create videos, and will soon be free to users, the company said on its site. By joining the YouTube video-sharing service, the startup will help expand what has become an increasingly key part of Google’s advertising lineup. More than 80 percent of Google’s revenue came from online promotions last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at Jillian Ward, Reed Stevenson

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