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RealTime IT News

Google Buys in to Video Conferences

Well, you can't call Google  stingy. One day after announcing record breaking profits for yet another quarter, Google put some of that cash to work, acquiring video-conferencing software from Swedish company Marratech AB.

Google also took on Marratech's technical team, which will continue to be located in Sweden, a Google spokesman told internetnews.com. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Marratech's video-conferencing software is based on research that began in 1995 at the Centre for Distance-Spanning Technology (CDT) at Lulea university of Technology, Sweden. The software employs a interactive whiteboard and application sharing and works on PCs running Mac, Linux or Windows, according to Marratech's Web site.

In a blog post, Google said it bought the software to "enable from- the-desktop participation for Googlers in videoconference meetings wherever there's an Internet connection." But the Google spokesperson said there were no announcements to explain how Google plans to make the video-conference software available to Internet users.

One possibility is that Google will roll the software into a software package it's been marketing to enterprises since earlier this year.

In February, Google announced Google Apps Premier Edition, a suite of hosted applications targeted at the same enterprise market traditionally dominated by Microsoft Office. Google Apps Premier Edition costs businesses $50 per user account per year, includes Google Calendar, as well as the company's Gmail e-mail application and its Google Talk instant messaging client. It also includes Google Docs and Spreadsheets, word processing and spreadsheet applications geared for collaboration between users. Google's mobile e-mail application is also now available on BlackBerry devices.

Earlier this week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Google will soon add a presentation feature to its Google Docs and Spreadsheet online applications to let users use slideshows.