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article imageGoogle buys company that lets you identify objects with a phone

By James Walker     Jul 6, 2016 in Technology
Google has added another startup to its long list of recent acquisitions. To extend its presence in machine learning and vision, the company has bought Moodstocks. The French firm has developed technology that facilitates "instant object recognition."
The deal was announced simultaneously by Google France and Moodstocks today. Details of the acquisition, completed for an undisclosed sum, have not been revealed. Google will move engineers and researchers currently working at Moodstocks to its R&D facilities in Paris, giving it strong talent in a new area of machine learning.
Moodstocks has developed technology that "gives eyes to machines." Using smart sensors and cameras, the company's software is able to identify 3D objects with almost no delay. The processing is run entirely on the user's device and is powered by deep learning algorithms.
A video on Moodstocks' YouTube channel demonstrates its technology in action. The app is able to correctly identify a range of objects in a remarkably short time. The user holds the object in front of their device's camera and is almost instantly provided with a description of it.
Moodstocks has developed a commercial product based on the system. It provides app developers with an image recognition API for smartphones. Apps that have used the API include a shopping website that allowed users to identify clothes and furniture advertised in magazines before buying the product.
Moodstocks will shut down its image recognition services when it becomes part of Google. In a statement, it reassured existing customers and announced they will be able to continue using the platform until their current subscription expires.
"Today, we're thrilled to announce that we've reached an agreement to join forces with Google in order to deploy our work at scale," the company said. "We expect the acquisition to be completed in the next few weeks. Our focus will be to build great image recognition tools within Google, but rest assured that current paying Moodstocks customers will be able to use it until the end of their subscription."
Moodstocks' expertise with image recognition could prove to be a useful addition to apps like Google Photos. The fast-growing photo library service already includes the ability to automatically link photos with applicable tags. The system isn't infallible though. Moodstocks' APIs could improve reliability and speed when adding new tags.
The API could also be added to Google's core search experience. It already supports searching by image on the web but this could be extended to allow searching by object. Scanning a book, film or even your car could take you straight to applicable search results.
By adding Moodstocks to its ever-growing parent company Alphabet, Google can further increase its presence in deep learning and machine intelligence. In return, Moodstocks sees its technology integrated into services used by millions of people worldwide every day, proving the value of its work over the past three years.
More about Google, Startup, Ai, Artificial intelligence, deep learning
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