Google goes on Christmas acquisition spree

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Google has got out the chequebook again and purchased two new technologies to incorporate into the company.

First up is Cambridge-based Phonetic Arts, a business focused on voice technologies. Using speech synthesis, the company generates what it claims to be natural expressive speech for computers, enabling games to use any types of voice rather than an inadequate sample.

On the Google blog, Mike Cohen, manager of speech technology at the internet giant, wrote: "There's a particular focus right now in the UK on technology and innovation, and we're delighted to be deepening our investment in the country with this acquisition."

"We already have a strong engineering centre in London and look forward to welcoming Phonetic Arts to the team."

The second acquisition Google has entered into was of US anti-piracy firm Widevine.

The company specialises in technologies which ensure media devices connected to the internet do not share video if use is unauthorised.

"We are committed to maintaining Widevine's agreements and will provide direct, quality support for their existing and future clients and we plan to build upon Widevine's technology to enhance both their products and our own," wrote Mario Queiroz, vice president of product management at Google, on his blog.

"We're excited to welcome the Widevine team to Google, and together we'll work to improve access to great video content across the web."

The amount of cash Google paid out for the two firms was not disclosed.

Google might be hoping the two acquisitions will take the focus off the rumoured Groupon buyout.

Reports this weekend claimed the high profile sale has fallen through after Groupon decided to walk away from the possible $6 billion (3.8 billion) takeover, favouring its independence.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.