Experiments are described showing the utility of synchrotron-based time-resolved x-ray diffraction (TR-XRD) and x-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES) for characterizing the physical and chemical properties of mixed-metal oxides that contain Mo and a second transition metal (Fe, Co or Ni). TR-XRD was used to study the transformations that occur during the heating of a FeMoO4/Fe2(MoO4)3 mixture and the α⇒β phase transitions in CoMoO4 and NiMoO4. The Mo LII- and O K-edges in XANES are very useful for probing the local symmetry of Mo atoms in mixed-metal oxides. The results of XANES and density-functional calculations (DMo13, DFT-GGA) show large changes in the splitting of the empty Mo 4d levels when going from tetrahedral to octahedral coordinations. XANES is very useful for studying the reaction of H2, H2S and SO2 with the mixed-metal oxides. Measurements at the S K-edge allow a clear identification of S, SO2, SO3 or SO4 on the oxide surfaces. Changes in the oxidation state of molybdenum produce substantial shifts in the position of the Mo LII- and MIII-edges.