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Rumor: Google negotiating to buy Olive for $70+M

We're hearing Google is in talks to buy Olive Software, of Santa Clara, for between $70 and $80 million.

Olive, which is backed with about $21 million in venture capital from Sequoia Capital and Pitango, makes a company's data files accessible from the Web. So you can see why Google might want to promote this technology: By crawling even more data, it can provide better search results.

Olive converts PDF documents, microfilm and any other files to XML, a format which can be used with any database, Web browser, or application that supports it. At the same time, Olive preserves the document's content, structure and layout.

We want to be clear: This is unconfirmed. We've contacted both Google and Olive, but neither has responded to our requests for comment. Earlier today, we talked live with Google and they said they'd get back to us. We don't like dealing in rumors, but our secret source on this one has been accurate about 80 percent of the time, and the other times there has been some sort of truth to the rumor. And besides, this is a blog, right....?

Knight Ridder, the owner of the Mercury News (for which we work on our day jobs) has been a customer of Olive's.

Update: Here's what we got from a Google spokesman: "We do not comment on rumor or speculation." By the way, this is their typical response, whether something is true, or false.

Update II: This acquisition is off.

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It would be a big surprise if they were to be acquired by anyone else.

Yakov on May 3, 2006 1:05 PM
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Seems like Olive produces better OCR technology than their own internal OCR they use for book search and comparison shopping. One useful possibility is scanning ads like the fry's ad that appears daily on this website and entering the data into their search engine like you said. You can't do this with normal industry OCR -- it isn't good enough. Seems like they have better computer vision algoritms like block detection.

Olive should call microsoft and get into a bidding war. Bill Gates would be pissed if Google got this.

monger on May 3, 2006 5:34 PM
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