Al Gore-backed VideoSurf bought by Microsoft for $70 million

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According to Israeli businesspaper Calcalist (in Hebrew), Microsoft has acquired San Mateo, California-based video search technology company VideoSurf for about $70 million.

We’ve confirmed the acquisition with multiple sources, although we haven’t been able to nail down the exact price (yet). One source who requested anonymity pegged it at $70 million too, though.

Update: we’ve now learned the total acquisition price amounts to just under $100 million.

Update: Microsoft just announced the acquisition (more details below)

VideoSurf raised $28 million from a couple of tech heavyweights, including Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and her husband, SurveyMonkey CEO David Goldberg, along with Al Gore and Current Media CEO Joel Hyatt and other investors, including Pitango VC and Verizon Ventures.

Likely, the acquisition is meant to beef up Microsoft’s Bing service.

The company’s technology is able to scan a wide range of video websites (Hulu, Dailymotion, Metacafe and others) and thus enables users to quickly find specific videos.

VideoSurf was originally started in 2006 by CEO Lior Delgo, Chief Scientist Achi Brandt, CTO Eitan Sharon, and COO Shai Deljo. More about them here.

Fun fact: VideoSurf chief executive Lior Delgo earlier founded travel search startup FareChase and led it to an acquisition by Yahoo back in 2004 (its technology now powers Yahoo Travel).

Update 2: from Microsoft’s press release:

Founded in 2006, VideoSurf offers a back-end computer vision technology that “sees” frames inside videos to make discovering content fast, easy and accurate. Over time, Microsoft will integrate this technology across its entertainment platform to augment the Xbox 360 ecosystem and evolve search and discovery of entertainment content on Xbox LIVE.

“VideoSurf’s content analytics technology will enhance the search and discovery of entertainment content across our platform,” said Alex Garden, director of Xbox LIVE for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “This holiday we will launch voice search across our entertainment partners on Xbox LIVE. Over time, as we integrate VideoSurf’s technology into our system, we are excited about the potential to have content tagged in real time to increase the speed and relevance of the search results.”

In the coming months, Microsoft will bring nearly 40 world-leading TV and entertainment providers to Xbox LIVE, including Bravo, Comcast, HBO GO, Verizon FiOS and Syfy in the U.S.; BBC in the U.K.; Telefonica in Spain; Rogers On Demand in Canada; Televisa in Mexico; ZDF in Germany; and Mediaset in Italy. T

his acquisition will also make it easier for world-class video partners to take full advantage of advanced features such as voice search enabled by Kinect for Xbox 360. With Kinect, users will be able to easily search and discover content across multiple entertainment providers within Xbox LIVE and then interact with and enjoy content in extraordinary ways using voice search powered by Bing on the Xbox 360.