Google purchases photo start up firm Jetpac

Jose Castro – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Mountain View, CA (4E) – Google had just announced the purchase of Jetpac, a start up firm which are making inroads in the artificial intelligence space. The main function of Jetpac is the mobile application it had created that is able to pull specific items out of Instagram photos.

These items then would be used to create city guides downloadable from the application. Other functions include making recommendations of attractions and even provide information and access to friends who have actually been to these places. The listing would be used to create galleries and relate to other online sources for information on the tourist attraction.

Jetpac co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Pete Warden had tweeted where he directed his followers to a new company webpage. He said, “We look forward to working on exciting projects with our colleagues at Google. We’ll be removing Jetpac’s apps from the App store in the coming days and ending support for them on 9/15.”

For its users, it may be sad news but for those who use Google’s services, then this is clearly an upgrade. The main strength of the application is its ability to use computer vision, a complex branch of artificial intelligence, and make it user friendly. This is an area called deep learning, a space that Google is making most of its work now.

In essence, deep learning is all about training systems on artificial neural networks that utilize and collate information from audio, image and other sources. The system then uses them with other information and derives inferences from these collated information given to the user.

The current application scans people’s Instagram images for smiling faces of all genders. The information obtained would be used to make guides to be made about those places where the images were taken. While it may seem too generic, to the proper user, they are able to make a good sense of surrounding factors based on the information obtained.

Previously in July 2013, Jetpac was able to raise USD 2.4 million in Series A funding. Its main funders then were Khosla Ventures, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, Morado Venture Partners and an unnamed Facebook executive.

Jetpac was established in 2011. It’s first projects was letting people explore travel pictures from the Facebook accounts of their friends. In a later project, the company was able to develop a mechanism to spot smiles in pictures. The numbers would then be used to determine how happy people are in a particular city.

The terms of the deal was not disclosed to the public.

Previously, Google had purchased Nest Labs Inc. The company makes smart thermostats as well as smart smoke alarms. The deal was for USD3.2 billion and ranks as one of the largest purchases ever done by the search engine company.

Jetpac’s Warden is amongst the few experts in the field of computer vision. His work includes creating an open source project around the image analysis system he had developed in Jetpac. He would also be giving a talk on artificial intelligence and deep learning together with another pioneer in the field, Google engineer and speech recognition expert Johan Schalkwyk.

Article © AHN – All Rights Reserved
About the Author

Leave a Reply