Wal-Mart is about to get very social indeed. The retail giant has reportedly paid $300 million for Kosmix, the company behind real-time Twitter filter site TweetBeat, medical search engine RightHealth and topic-specific engine Kosmix. The company, founded by Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman in 2005, will be folded into Wal-Mart’s new @WalmartLabs division, created to build a stronger social and mobile shopping experience for the company.
No surprise, Rajaraman sees this as a first step toward a bold new future:
We are at an inflection point in the development of ecommerce. The first generation of ecommerce was about bringing the store to the web. The next generation will be about building integrated experiences that leverage the store, the web, and mobile, with social identity being the glue that binds the experience. Walmart’s enormous global reach and incredible scale of operations — from the United States and Europe to growing markets like China and India — is unprecedented. @WalmartLabs, which combines Walmart’s scale with Kosmix’s social genome platform, is in a unique position to invent and build this future.
Officially, terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but it’s expected that Kosmix will remain in its current Mountain View, CA location despite its new owner being located in Arkansas. Whether this means that @WalmartLabs will be predominantly California-based is as yet unclear.
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