Google to acquire City Guides app maker Jetpac

Google is to acquire City Guides app firm Jetpac that used image recognition and neural network technology to recommend destinations

Google is to acquire City Guides app firm Jetpac, which uses image recognition and neural network technology that mimics human brain functions to recommend destinations.

Neither firm has disclosed details of the deal, but the acquisition is in line with Google’s purchase of London-based artificial intelligence startup DeepMind in January 2014, reportedly worth $400m.

Two weeks earlier, Google announced plans to acquire behaviour-learning thermostat maker Nest Labs for $3.2bn.

In 2013, Google acquired robot-maker Boston Dynamics in December, gesture recognition startup Flutter in October and neural networks startup DNNresearch in March.

These acquisitions followed deals for a string of robotics firms, including Industrial Perception, which focuses on 3D-vision-guided robotic technologies.

The City Guides app, for devices running the Apple mobile operating system, analyses public Instagram images with location data and extracts features such as blue-sky views.

According to Jetpac’s website, its current apps will be removed from the Apple App Store “in the coming days” and support will end on 15 September.

Jetpac’s neural network technology was developed by the company’s founder and chief technology officer Pete Warden.

Warden also wrote two neural network-based demonstrator apps, still available on Apple’s App Store, according to The Guardian.

One of the apps, Spotter, attempts to identify objects. The other, Deep Belief, can be trained to recognise objects.

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