Google Buys Object-Recognition Start-Up

Google is elevating its object-recognition efforts.

The Web giant has acquired French machine-learning start-up Moodstocks, which has been working to "give eyes to machines by turning cameras into smart sensors able to make sense of their surroundings." The acquisition is expected to be completed in the next few weeks; financial terms were not disclosed.

Google has already integrated machine learning into many of its services, including the Smart Reply feature in Inbox that basically writes emails for you. And, the company has made progress when it comes to visual recognition. You can, for instance, search in Google Photos for things like "party" or "beach" and the app will find corresponding images without requiring that you manually categorize them.

But now Google is hoping to take these efforts up a notch with the help of Moodstocks. Based in Paris, the team of researchers and engineers develops new visual-recognition algorithms and machine-learning technology for mobile devices. The team will join Google's research and development center in Paris, which launched in 2011.

"France abounds in talents in engineering and research," Vincent Simonet, who leads Google's R&D center in France, wrote in a blog post. "We look forward to working with the team Moodstocks and see what we can develop together."

Moodstocks will soon discontinue its image-recognition services, but paying customers can still use them until the end of their subscription.

"Our focus will be to build great image recognition tools within Google," the team said in a statement.

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