googlemarratech.jpgGoogle has bought online video-conferencing software company, Marratech, the latest in a barrage of software application announcements by the online giant.

Google announced the acquisition on its blog, saying the Sweden-based Marratech will be great for Google’s own workplace because Googlers “thrive on casual interactions and spontaneous collaboration.”

Video-conferencing is a logical next move for Google, given its dive into online video recently with the acquisition of YouTube. It’s just the latest front in its battle against Microsoft, which has its own web conferencing software Live Meeting. Cisco, meanwhile, just acquired another major player in the industry, WebEx, for $3.2 billion.

The difference, of course, is that Google paid pennies relative to what Cisco paid. As a consumer oriented company, Google can presumably distribute the software easily and perhaps even for free. Marratech, founded in 1998, raised at least the equivalent of $10 million. Investors include Slottbacken Venture Capital, the investment unit of Telia Sonera, the Sixth Swedish National Pension Fund, Emano, Hagstromer, and Qviberg.

This follows a number of new offerings by Google in the past few days, including a StumbleUpon clone that recommends other sites you might be interested in, a revamping of its shopping site, and the release of its Powerpoint look-alike. No word yet on whether Marratech will be implemented into Google Talk anytime soon. Marratech lets groups and individuals communicate over the Web, fully collaborative features such as an interactive whiteboard.


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