Jetpac, photo recognition startup that analyses the pictures from Instagram and recommends travel destinations, was acquired by tech giant Google for an undisclosed amount of money, earlier this week. This purchase is the latest in a string of what experts are calling ‘artificial intelligence’ acquisitions by Google, including smartphone video creation platform Directr by YouTube earlier this month, digital assistant messaging application Emu, and a handful of tech security startups earlier this year in January such as Israeli smart identification technology startup SlickLogin, along with fraud and spam security startup Imperium.
“We look forward to working on exciting projects with our colleagues at Google,”said the company web page. “We’ll be removing Jetpac’s apps from the App Store in the coming days, and ending support for them on 9/15.”
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The Jetpac team has been working with deep learning, an area Google has done plenty of work on and is now ramping up its efforts to compete with other companies like Microsoft and Baidu. Deep learning works with training systems called artificial neural networks on lots of information derived from audio, images, and other inputs, and then adapts the systems with new information and receiving inferences about it in response.
An older version of Jetpac’s app allowed people explore travel pictures from their Facebook friends and decide where they wanted to visit. More recently, Jetpac developed a mechanism for spotting smiles in pictures to discern how happy people are in a city. With Google’s recent acquisition, it will be interesting to see not only how their services will develop, but also new applications of Jetpac’s deep learning algorithm.
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(Image Credit: Steve Jurvetson)