Google Acquires Instant Search Startup Apture for Chrome

apture-google-chromeGoogle’s latest acquisition – their 23rd of 2011 – may give them the ability to monetize every page on the Web. Sounds huge, doesn’t it? It is.

Apture founders Tristan Harris and Can Sar, along with their employees, will join the Google Chrome team, according to an announcement on the Apture.com homepage:

Since 2007, all of us here at Apture have worked hard to add new dimensions to the web. We've always believed that by transforming flat web pages into interactive multimedia experiences, we could enable readers to see, hear and truly experience the ideas on the page.

After enhancing more than a billion pages with our products, we think now is the best time to expand our efforts with another team just down the road that shares our vision of making the web better. :) That's right -- we've been acquired by Google and will be joining the Chrome team to continue driving innovation and creating a better user experience on the web. The modern web is an amazing platform, so stay tuned for even more enhancements to your Chrome browsing experience.

Apture's biggest offering, the Apture Highlights browser plug-in, has already been removed from the Chrome store. All Apture plug-ins will shut down over the next month.

You can see a demonstration of Apture in the video at the bottom of this post. The browser plug-in for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari allowed users to highlight words or phrases and bring up search results including videos, news, and images in a small pop-up window. This prevents users from leaving the page, while allowing them to explore subjects in further detail.

Their white-label version, used by sites including Economist.com and The Financial Times, allowed publishers to create an HTML-based overlay for readers to explore topics without leaving the page, using a single line of JavaScript.

The potential for Google is huge, as they could incorporate AdWords ads into these miniature browsers, effectively monetizing every single page viewed by Chrome users. According to Apture, they’ve enhanced more than a billion pages to date with their products. This acquisition gives Google the ability to offer this enhanced, on-page search to their 200 million monthly active users. The purchase price has not been disclosed.

Apture Highlights Extension Welcome Video from Apture Inc on Vimeo.