Google Buys Bay Area Startups Apture and Katango

Google acquired two new Bay Area startups which will beef up its social networking and search engine.

The search titan will purchase the Palo Alto-based social networking company Katango and the San Francisco-based micro-search engine Apture. No terms of the deal were disclosed, according to Forbes.

Katango will join Google+, helping to improve its Circles and group contacts. Katango was known for analyzing and sorting Facebook contacts, according to the Wall Street Journal, so it's not surprising Google+ would want such a technology. 

"Katango was founded a little over a year ago to develop social algorithms that improve people's online social interaction. We're excited to join the Google+ team and carry on fulfilling that mission. Google+ is seeing tremendous momentum, so it's a perfect time to join and make Circles smarter for millions of people," Katango wrote on its site.

Google's vice president of product Bradley Horowitz wrote on his (of course!) Google+ account, "Very excited to confirm that we've just acquired Katango! In the earliest days of Google+, I alluded to the fact that we had big plans for Circles. Are you ready for some magic in your Circles? These folks are magicians!"

Apture offers users in-page searches, where users can highlight a name or word on a page and it immediately brings up a window with more information (although it seems as if the go-to is Wikipedia.) Apture employees will be heading to Google's Chrome divison to help strengthen its browser, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

"We were impressed by the Apture team's approach to enhancing the Web browser experience, and we think their expertise will complement the Chrome team's efforts in this area," a Google spokeswoman told the Mercury News.

Google acquired 57 companies in the first three quarters of 2011, breaking its yearly record of 48, set in 2010. Apparently there's still a lot more room to grow at Google. 

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