There can be no doubt that images, videos and VR are the next big thing in terms of smartphone technology and that is why just two weeks after Twitter acquired Magic Pony to advance its machine learning smarts for improving users’ experience of photos and videos on its platform, Google is following suit.
According to a TechCrunch report, the Android maker is in the process of acquiring French startup Moodstocks which is based out of Paris and specialises in image recognition technology for smartphones. Developers describe Moodstocks’ APIs as “Shazam for images.”
Moodstocks has confirmed that their API and SDK will be discontinued soon. “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,” the company posted on its site.
While the value of the deal is not disclosed yet, Google said that Moodstocks team, which was founded by Denis Brule and Cedric Deltheil, will join the research and development team in France. Vincent Simonet, who heads up that centre, says Google sees Moodstocks’ work contributing to better image searches, a service that is of course already offered in Google but is now going to be improved. “We have made great strides in terms of visual recognition,” he writes (in French), “but there is still much to do in this area.”
Moodstocks, like Magic Pony, makes use of machine learning algorithms to help Google’s searches “learn” more about how to find images that are similar and/or related to verbal search terms. On smartphones this is ever more essential: the challenges include the fact that users are less inclined to enter text; and may be using their own (poor quality) images to find similar ones.
Google has made other acquisitions in France, including FlexyCore (also for improving smartphone performance). It’s also made a number of acquisitions to improve its tech in imaging, such as JetPac and PittPatt for facial recognition.