Twitter Buys Photo Recognition Startup, "Magic Pony"

It's no secret that Twitter is looking for the next area in which to grow into and both keep existing, as well as bring in new users. After a management shake up at the top of the ladder, Twitter seems to be stable once more, and throughout much of 2016 has been looking ahead to what's next. We've seen the firm launch Periscope to combat Facebook's Live Video and take the fight to YouTube as well as more recently, purchasing the rights to Thursday Night Football. Now however, with their latest acquisition, it looks as though Twitter could be looking to take on Facebook and Google at more than just video.

Twitter is purchasing a London-based startups, dubbed Magic Pony, that specializes in Machine Learning. You might have heard the term before, and that's because it's the same sort of process that Google uses for a lot of their more advanced products right now, including the upcoming Google Assistant as well as Google Photos. Speaking of photos, Magic Pony is a startup that specifically developed Machine Learning solutions for images, otherwise known as "Visual Learning". The Twitter blog post that announces the deal calls the move an "investment on Machine Learning" and details the work that Magic Pony does as being able to "understand the features of imagery". As a startup, the team is only small, but according to Twitter includes 11 PhDs with experience in fields across high performance computing as well as computer vision.

This small team will go to work in Twitter Cortex, the name for the social network's testing lab of sorts for Machine Learning to build a new product that members of Twitter can use and connect together with. Just what this end product that the Twitter Cortex and its new influx of talent is working on remains to be seen, but given the focus of Magic Pony's work, it could be that Twitter is looking to make their online service a much more welcoming place for sharing photos and such, including facial recognition to compete with Google Photos, which has quickly become a popular product for Google.

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Tom Dawson

Former Editor-in-Chief
For years now I've had a heavy interest in technology, growing up with 8-bit computers and gaming consoles has fed into an addiction to everything that beeps. Android saved me from the boredom of iOS years ago and I love watching the platform grow. As an avid reader and writer nothing pleases me more than to write about the exciting world of Android, Google and mobile technology as a whole.