Google buys video company to improve YouTube image quality

Posted by Kate Taylor

Google's hoping to improve the picture quality of videos uploaded to YouTube, with the acquisition of Irish digital video company Green Parrot Pictures.

Green Parrot's technology has been used in movies including Lord of the Rings, X-Men and Spiderman, and will be used on-the-fly by YouTube to sharpen images, remove camera shake and reduce visual 'noise'.

"Some of YouTube’s most popular or moving videos are shot using low-quality mobile phones and video cameras. Take, for example, videos of recent protests in Libya. Although emotionally captivating, they can be jerky, blurry or unsteady," says Jeremy Doig, director of Google video technology.

"What if there was a technology that could improve the quality of such videos - sharpening the image, reducing visual noise and rendering a higher-quality, steadier video - all while your video is simply being uploaded to the site? You can imagine how excited we were when we discovered a small, ambitious company based in Ireland that can do exactly this."

Doig says the technology not only improves the appearance of videos but also cuts down on bandwidth and improves playback speed. Features include stabilisation, flicker removal, blotch removal, noise reduction, colour transfer and slow motion.

The two companies didn't reveal the terms of the acquisition. Green Parrot says it will comply with all its existing contractual obligations.