updated 09:00 am EST, Tue January 25, 2011
Google buys fflick for 10m in YouTube movie push
Google today was discovered to be buying the movie recommendation site fflick in what's likely an attempt to boost its upcoming YouTube movie service. The in progress deal, estimated by TechCrunch to be worth $10 million, would give it access to a Twitter-based sentiment engine that helps gauge whether viewers liked a movie or whether it has significant pre-release buzz. It's not clear if fflick would survive independently or would be subsumed entirely by Google.
While not yet confirmed by Google, the buyout is expected to be final by the end of the week.
The intentions haven't been confirmed, but Google will likely use fflick's engine to help suggest movies when it expands its YouTube movie project to include major commercial movies sometime this year. The method could better reflect actual popularity independently of the methods often used at online stores like iTunes, which usually have to go either on existing downloads or more deliberately search out the advance interest in given movies.
Along with the movie service, fflick could help with basic Google searching by providing a brief summary of the opinions of a movie after searching for its title. The move could cut into the business of sites like Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes by eliminating a separate visit just to check an individual movie.