Google buys Plink to improve its Goggles

20:50, April 14, 2010      

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Google has bought the start-up company PlinkArt in an effort to improve its Google Goggles project.

PlinkArt, a visual search engine, was put together only four months ago by Phd students Mark Cummins and James Philbin. It allows users to identify a work of art by taking a photo of it with their phone. It is Google's first-ever acquisition in the UK and part of the Internet search giant's strategy to buy at least one company every month throughout 2010.

Cummins and Philbin will work on the Google Goggles' project which allows mobile users to search the Internet using photos rather than words. Last year Plink won a 100,000 U.S. dollar prize from Google after being selected as the best reference app for Google Android mobile phones. The details behind this latest acquisition by Google have not been revealed however.

Anil Hansjee, Google's head of corporate development for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said, "It's time to be much more optimistic about the European tech start-up scene. There is a lot of innovation here and now the tech eco-system across academia, corporates, start-ups, venture capital and government is responding and supporting this effort."

Plink's founders said in a blog post announcing the deal that "the opportunity to take our algorithms to Google-scale was just too exciting to pass up ... The visual search engines of today can do some pretty cool things, but they still have a long way to go. We're looking forward to helping the Goggles team build a visual search engine that works not just for paintings or book covers, but for everything you see around you."

The visual search provided by Google Goggles, and augmented by PlinkArt, is just the latest in a series of search innovations rolled out by the company. Google has also being experimenting with voice search whereby a user can enter queries by speaking in English, Mandarin, or Japanese.

While voice search is available for a number of mobile devices, Google Goggles is currently only available in a beta version for Android phones. Google has announced it plans on making the software capable of running on other platforms, notably the Apple iPhone and Blackberry devices, though no date has been set for such a launch.

Source: Agencies


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