Google to buy visual search firm Like.com for $100 million - Google

Google is to acquire visual search company Like.com for over $100 million.

Like.com is a search system that allows people to search for items by detail, colour, shape, pattern, or any other visual means, with the main website primarily focused on selling fashion items like clothing and jewellery. It effectively restores the visual element to buying, which the online market has generally lacked.

The technology could be useful as an expansion to Google's search engine, allowing people to search visually as opposed to just by text. Google has already made some headway in this area, acquiring UK-based mobile visual search company Plink in April and then launching its Google Goggles app on the Android market, allowing smartphone users to search with pictures they've taken.

If that were not enough, Google was interested in buying Like.com before, back in 2005 when it was called Riya and focused on facial recognition and consumer tagging. It almost bought the company but then backed out of the deal at the last minute – now it appears to be back to finish the job.

Multiple anonymous sources close to TechCrunch have confirmed that Google is in the final stages of the acquisition deal, rumoured to be worth at least $100 million, so we can probably expect an announcement to be made some time this week, particularly now that the news is out.

Like.com was launched in 2009 and has an estimated revenue of $50 million per year. If that technology is integrated into Google products it can expect to add an extra edge over competitors increase its profits quite a bit over the  next several years.