AOL acquires social software start-up Thing Labs

AOL has acquired Thing Labs, 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.

USA, New York, NY & San Francisco, CA

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