Google funds photo advertising start-up

Google may not be buying companies as often as it once did, but that’s not stopping it from doling out funds to promising start-ups.

On Wednesday, Mountain View, California-based Pixazza, a developer of photo-based online ad technology, said Google was among the group of investors that plunked down $5.75 million in Series A funding. Pixazza’s technology lets Web surfers click on portions of online images to get more information, say the brand and price of the shoes that a celebrity is wearing in a photo.

“Google’s investment underscores the innovative and promising nature of Pixazza’s new advertising technology,” Pixazza said in a statement announcing the deal.

Google’s investment comes as the search giant has slowed its pace of outright acquisitions, and as the company prepares a new in-house venture capital division called Google Ventures.

Other investors in the funding round include August Capital and CMEA Capital. And Pixazza listed angel investor Ron Conway, former eBay COO Maynard Webb, and Facebook CFO Gideon Yu among its backers.

Blue Sky for Baidu?

The dreams of Internet moonshot stocks have not disappeared amid the global economic slowdown.

Take Baidu, the No.1 Internet firm in China, which was bequeathed a lofty $432-a-share valuation by Deutsche Bank on Tuesday under a so-called “blue-sky scenario.”

That would be quite a bit above Baidu’s $186.50 opening price on Tuesday, but Deutsche Bank analyst Alan Hellawell points out in a note initiating coverage on Baidu that the stock has traded upwards of $380 in the past 52 weeks and that Baidu’s market cap still pales compared to Google’s.