Google buys Widevine to beef up DRM offering

December 6, 2010: 10:19 AM ET

GoogleTV, tablets and smartphones will all benefit from the technology to securely deliver video over the web.

Google (GOOG) added another little pickup to its holiday shopping list this weekend when it purchased a video DRM company called Widevine.  Widevine bills itself as a content delivery optimization and security company that focuses on bringing secure video on a wide array of platforms.

Google's YouTube subsidiary and GoogleTV are the most obvious benefactors of the new technology.  Both need to optimize the quality of their video broadcasts while ensuring that distribution partners know that their content isn't going to be repurposed by pirates.  At the same time, the video needs to be available on many different screens, from smartphones to computers to HDTVs.

In a statement, Google said,

The Widevine team has worked to provide a better video delivery experience for businesses of all kinds: from the studios that create your favorite shows and movies, to the cable systems and channels that broadcast them online and on TV, to the hardware manufacturers that let you watch that content on a variety of devices. By forging partnerships across the entire ecosystem, Widevine has made on demand services more efficient and secure for media companies, and ultimately more available and convenient for users.

Current Widevine customers include AT&T (T), Blockbuster, Netflix (NFLX), NBC.com (GE), Samsung, Telstra, Best Buy (BBY), DISH Network, LOVEFiLM and VUDU.  Google has promised to keep Widevine's existing agreements in place.

The technology won't just help GoogleTV and YouTube but it could also be used to secure and optimize teleconferences and VoIP communication.  It will also help to have Widevine's IP on board.

In a prepared statement, Brian Baker, CEO of Widevine, said, "For many years, Widevine has enabled consumers to access digital entertainment content. Through a combination of content protection and video optimization technologies, we've provided consumers with the highest quality Internet video experience while giving them freedom to watch on a variety of devices. With the recent growth of Internet video and network connected devices, it is increasingly important for technology to provide consumers with the capability to watch what they want, when they want, where they want.

"By working with Google, we are even further committed to the consumer Internet video experience and to the needs of content owners. Widevine will continue to supply the industry with leading video optimization and content protection solutions. We are excited to have access to Google's vast resources as we continue to improve our products, support our customers, and meet the future needs of consumers, content owners, service providers and device manufacturers everywhere."

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Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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