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Google's Newest Buy: Zync

TMCnet Feature

August 26, 2014

Google's Newest Buy: Zync

By Steve Anderson
Contributing TMCnet Writer

Sometimes mergers and acquisitions make a lot of sense, like Amazon's reported recent purchase of Twitch. Interestingly, Google (News - Alert) was said to be in the market to pick up Twitch, but apparently ducked out at the last minute and instead picked up something else, a visual effects company called Zync. Zync has worked on some fairly big name projects in the past, but what does Google have in mind for this firm now?

The reports suggest that Google picked up Zync for an undisclosed sum, and Zync will now be part of the Google Cloud Platform team. Zync has a complete suite of tools geared toward giving visual artists, including designers, the ability to better process image rendering, as well as special effects, and all on a cloud-based system. This is actually an important distinction; being able to handle special effects and image rendering in the cloud allows for companies to handle such things without having to bring in major pieces of hardware, a process that can be both extremely expensive and time-consuming.

Zync's processes have been previously seen in wide-release features like “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “Looper,” so it's clear that the process is trusted by some big names in Hollywood. It's seen its share of other features as well, and has even been found in “hundreds of commercials,” adding up to a cumulative total of over 6.5 million hours of video, an impressive achievement by any standard. What's more, Google offered up some insight on what drove the purchase, saying “Together Zync and Cloud Platform will offer studios the rendering performance and capacity they need, while helping them manage costs. For example, with per-minute billing studios aren’t trapped into paying for unused capacity when their rendering needs don’t fit in perfect hour increments.”

The entertainment industry is one that's very big indeed, and also surprisingly recession-proof. Even during the Great Depression, Hollywood was one of the few industries out there holding up reasonably well. For Google to now have possession of a tool that's already being universally used just lets it get that much closer to offering just about anything for business users. What's more, it actually becomes possible—at least, somewhat—to offer a complete marketing solution; the campaign can be established via Google Docs, and collaborated upon accordingly, then can be somewhat set up using Zync's platform. It opens up the possibility to tap remote talent for rendering and effects work, and in general allows for more work to be done in less time, a development that's undoubtedly welcome given the rapidly-growing numbers of films and video out there to be seen. With more firms getting into content provider work, and more venues becoming available from YouTube (News - Alert) to Netflix and beyond, having more content in play is going to be a good way for firms to help distinguish among each other.

There's an old saying, the miners in a gold rush almost never get as rich as the people who sell shovels, and Google might well have just bought in on a serious shovel provision service, so to speak. Only time will tell just how well it all turns out, but this cloud-based solution may turn out quite well for Google after all.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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