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Ananova was a Web-oriented news service that originally featured a computer-simulated newscaster as an embodied agent named Ananova programmed to read newscasts to Web users. Ananova is now a subsidiary of mobile telecommunication operator Orange SA. Orange bought Ananova in 2000 from the Press Association (PA) in a £95m deal, and has now merged the site into its main news site.
The character of Ananova was given a distinctive look and personality based on celebrities Victoria Beckham, Kylie Minogue, and Carol Vorderman. Her creators described her as a 28-year old "girl about town" who stands at 173 centimeters (5ft8in) tall and loves the band Oasis and the TV show The Simpsons.
While the Ananova website was still operational and providing written news items until 2009, the animated Ananova character was unavailable from 2004. The website had claimed since that time that the software was under development and would be available again "soon."
The Ananova news service was well known for its collection of unusual news stories, which it features in its Quirkies section and by Karl Pilkington on the Xfm The Ricky Gervais Show, a section which now appears on Orange's news website.
The speech synthesis (text-to-speech conversion) used by Ananova was developed using patented methods that applied human inflections to extend the rVoice solution from Rhetorical Systems (now Nuance Communications).
Ananova name scrapped
In April 2010 the owner of the Ananova domain, Orange, decided to scrap the name Ananova. Users entering the site are now redirected to a Web Hosting Service Directory.