Did AOL Fool Google With Truveo Deal?

    January 10, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

By purchasing video search startup Truveo, AOL may have given its pal at Google a little kick in the ribs after making off with $1 billion of their investment.

The Motley Fool thinks AOL put one over on the Googlers. All that valuable Time Warner content one might expect Google to get access to for its brand new video store may be staying within the friendly home confines of AOL instead:

“AOL’s video search will probably never rival Google’s in popularity and scope, but this isn’t about winning a search war. It’s about keeping other people’s mitts off the future revenue stream. Time Warner’s got way too much saleable video content to want to give it all away to Google by ceding leadership in video search.”

Google’s video content for sale consists of NBA games and some CBS programs. While CSI has been a popular series, its devotees probably have the DVDs already and aren’t likely to pay to watch them on a computer when the big-screen TV beckons.

While putting some episodes of the 50s Western series “Have Gun Will Travel” on the site has a certain retro-chic to it, there isn’t anyone under 40 who knows why Paladin had a chess knight on his holster without Googling for the reason first. Or cares, sadly.

As far as the NBA goes, the less said about a winter matchup between two teams with no chance of making the playoffs, the better. Especially if the conversation turns to paying to see Toronto-Atlanta on Google Video.

The Fool article noted how Google, on top of the $1 billion investment, will help AOL pages rank better in the Google index. John Battelle made the best comment on this eyebrow-raising part of the deal, in writing, “I think to myself: Er, you’ve been an AOL partner – in a very major way – for more than five years. And you’re NOW just getting around to this? AOL has never talked to Google about redirects? Indexing non HTML content? Robots.txt? I find that, well, hard to believe. Something is not quite adding up.”

Actually, whatever indignity Google may or may not feel over the Truveo deal should be assuaged in 2008. That’s when Google stands to profit handsomely from a potential AOL public offering. Google could double or better that $1 billion in two and a half years from now.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.