Google Acquires Applied Semantics

SAN FRANCISCO Google said it has acquired a new online advertising technology firm that will strengthen its content-targeted advertising ability.

Continuing its efforts to push advertising beyond just search engine paid placement and onto actual Web pages, the Mountain View, Calif.-based Google has acquired a potential competitor, Applied Semantics of Santa Monica, Calif. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Applied Semantics was working in a similar space to Google’s own relatively new content-targeted advertising program and had pilot ad projects under way with Web publishers including the New York Post, USA Today and the San Francisco Chronicle.

The way content-targeted, or contextual, advertising works is that advertisers pay to have small text advertisements appear on Web pages that contain relevant content. For example, a flower seed company might pay to have its advertisements appear on a page that contains an article about gardening.

Applied Semantics’ technology also has filtering capabilities to ensure that advertising snafus do not occur, such as having a product’s advertising appear next to an article about a competitor.

“Applied Semantics is a proven innovator in semantic text processing and online advertising,” said Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder and president of technology.

The acquisition also allows Google to have an engineering and product development presence in Southern California. The company also recently opened a New York engineering division.