AOL Acquires Social Software Start-Up Thing Labs, Inc.
Sep 28, 2010
Brizzly Team Will Help Boost Social Interaction and Connection Across the AOL Network
New York, NY, September 28, 2010 – AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) today announced that it has acquired Thing Labs, Inc., whose Brizzly family of web-based social software makes it easy and fun for users to create, share, explore and enjoy content. The Brizzly team will play a key role in helping AOL provide consumers with the best possible venues to discover and share content with each other. Over time, AOL expects to integrate aspects of the Brizzly service into its popular Lifestream product, its social aggregator and publisher, and AIM, AOL's flagship messaging platform. The Brizzly team will join AOL's Consumer Applications Group, where Thing Labs Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jason Shellen and Christopher Wetherell, Vice President of Product and Engineering, will lead the AIM product suite, including Lifestream.
"AOL is a different company than it was even a year ago. We have to fundamentally change the way we think about the consumer experience and the team at Thing Labs has a vision and a track record of success that we think will help truly transform the messaging space," said Brad Garlinghouse, President of AOL's Consumer Applications Group. "The team represents a great combination of vision, product knowledge and experience building innovative social products and we believe their contribution will further complement the exciting work that the Lifestream and AIM teams at AOL are doing."
Founded in June 2008 and based in San Francisco, CA, Thing Labs creates web-based software that encourages and inspires users to share great content. Its applications include Brizzly, which allows users to view and post updates to Twitter and Facebook; Brizzly Picnic, a group chat site; Brizzly Guide, a site dedicated to explaining social media trending topics in real time, and Brizzly for iPhone. Prior to founding Thing Labs, Shellen and Wetherell were instrumental in creating Google Reader, which allows users to aggregate their most important content.
"AIM, Lifestream and Brizzly are really complementary and we can't wait to begin exploring how we can combine and enhance them to improve AIM and Lifestream," said Shellen. "AOL and Thing Labs share a creative vision that the Web should be fun, effortless, inspiring and trusted."
Lifestream enables users to view status messages and posts from their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Delicious, Digg, Flickr, YouTube and much more – all in one place, from anywhere. Launched within AIM in 2009 and now also available as a standalone desktop product and on mobile platforms, it is one of the largest social aggregators on the Web, with more than four million unique visitors.*
This acquisition supports the AOL Consumer Applications Group's mission to redefine the way people share and connect on the Web. Deal terms were not disclosed.
This press release contains "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the anticipated benefits of the transaction, the expected closing date and other statements identified by words such as "may," "will," "intend," "should," "expect" or similar expressions. These statements are based on the current expectations and beliefs of Thing Labs, Inc. and AOL's management, and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances, including, but not limited to, [the approval of the transaction by antitrust authorities,] the satisfaction of the closing conditions to the transaction and the parties' performance of their obligations under the agreements. Any forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future performance and actual results may vary materially from those expressed or implied by the statements herein, due to changes in economic, business, competitive, technological, strategic and/or regulatory factors, as well as factors affecting Thing Labs, Inc.'s and AOL's operations and businesses. More detailed information about these factors as they relate to AOL may be found in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in AOL's Annual Report on Form 10-K, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Thing Labs, Inc. and AOL are under no obligation to, and expressly disclaims any obligation to, update or alter the forward-looking statements contained in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
AOL Inc. (NYSE:AOL) is a leading global Web services company with an extensive suite of brands and offerings and a substantial worldwide audience. AOL's business spans online content, products and services that the company offers to consumers, publishers and advertisers. AOL is focused on attracting and engaging consumers and providing valuable online advertising services on both AOL's owned and operated properties and third-party websites. In addition, AOL operates one of the largest Internet subscription access services in the United States, which serves as a valuable distribution channel for AOL's consumer offerings.
About Thing Labs, Inc.
Thing Labs, Inc is the San Francisco-based company behind Brizzly, a simple, fun way to talk and share with friends and family online. Thing Labs' products include Brizzly Picnics (a group chat interface with pictures, video and more), the Brizzly Guide (the best way to find out what people are talking about on the Web), the Brizzly reader (for Twitter and Facebook) and Brizzly for iPhone. During their tenure at Google, co-founders Jason Shellen and Chris Wetherell were part of the founding team behind Google Reader, now the most widely-used feed aggregator in the world.
*comScore Media Metrix data, August 2010