According to various reports, Microsoft has purchased San Mateo, Calif.-based VideoSurf.
TechCrunch reported that it confirmed the acquisition and that the purchase price is roughly $70 million. As of 9 am ET on November 22, neither Microsoft nor VideoSurf has confirmed the news through official channels.
Update: The press release confirming Microsoft has bought VideoSurf is out. It's official. Microsoft is planning to integrate the VideoSurf technology into Xbox Live (but not in time for the December 6 holiday update to the Xbox 360 dashboard, obviously). No mention of the price paid. (Thanks for the link, @DavidPorterhaus.)
If the reports are true, VideoSurf will be the third company Microsoft is known to have acquired this year. Microsoft announced intentions to buy the P2P communications company Skype in May 2011 and enterprise-risk-management vendor Prodiance in June 2011.
VideoSurf, founded in 2006, is about enabling users to search, discover and watch online videos. According to the company's Web site, VideoSurf uses "patent-pending" computer vision algorithms and fast computation methods to enable computers to "'see' inside videos to find content in a fast, efficient, and scalable way." Its search system is based on image identification, not just text only.
I've asked Microsoft for comment on the reports about VideoSurf, but have yet to receive a response. (Update: See update above for the link to the press release.)
Microsoft has been honing its own image-search capabilities that are integrated in Bing for several years and has its own video-search capability built into Bing.