Google wants to make movie special effects more affordable.
The Internet giant formerly known as just a search engine announced Tuesday that it has bought Zync, a company that uses cloud computing to create easy-to-use visual-effects services.
Founded about five years ago as part of the visual effects studio ZERO VFX, Zync software has been used in a wide range of commercials and movies, including "American Hustle," "Looper," and "Flight." That software uses online tools to take 2-D or 3-D models and make them look more realistic.
Cloud computing refers to "real systems of cleverly networked computers" that work efficiently together and drastically lower the cost of data storage. With Zync's technology, movie studios, like other businesses that have already hopped on the cloud-computing train, can also reduce the cost of visual effects. Notably, smaller studios that might not otherwise have the chance to enhance their movies with effects can now do so. Google plans on charging studios by the minute for use of Zync's services.
"Together Zync + Cloud Platform will offer studios the rendering performance and capacity they need, while helping them manage costs," says Google product manager Belwadi Srikanth in a blog post announcing the acquisition. "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."
Zync says users will receive an improved product once it becomes part of Google, "including more scalability, more host packages and better pricing."
"With a friction-free, affordable, and elastic rendering solution, visual designers and artists in the industry can continue to do their best work," reads a Zync blog post on the matter.
Based in Boston, Zync will be incorporated into the Google Cloud Platform and will no longer be available on Amazon Web Services, Amazon's cloud computing network and arguably Google's biggest competitor in the cloud market. Not only does this move take a symbolic jab at Amazon, it also means any studio using Zync will have to leave Amazon for Google.
In recent months, Google has been building up its cloud offerings. In May, Google acquired Stackdriver, a cloud monitoring service that lets users monitor statistics on their various cloud applications.
Terms of the deal between Google and Zync were not disclosed.