Google Buys Tenor, a GIF Search Tool That Advertisers Love

(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google agreed to acquire Tenor, a four-year old mobile startup that draws some 300 million people a month. The companies announced the deal in joint blog posts but did not share financial terms.

Tenor’s main offering, a GIF keyboard, has become a hit with advertisers. They pay the firm up to $500,000 to run sponsored GIFs, short moving digital images, inside search results.

"Tenor will continue to operate as a separate brand," Cathy Edwards, a Google engineering director, wrote in a blog post. Her involvement suggests Tenor will also be used to bolster Google’s main search business. In 2016, Google acquired Edwards’ startup Undecidable Labs, which focused on turning online searches into purchases.

Amazon.com Inc. and Pinterest Inc. have successfully pitched advertisers on the appeal of online images for shoppers, cutting into Google’s search business. Tenor told marketing clients on Tuesday there would be no change to their program, according to an email viewed by Bloomberg.

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