Google Acquires Undecidable Labs To Boost Image Search

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More tech companies are increasingly turning to deep learning, a subdomain in artificial intelligence that seeks to train neural networks to mine large volumes of data including photos and leverage the structured data to inform decision making. With that in mind, Google continues to make a big bet on AI as previously highlighted by Sundar Pichai. The latest step in the search giant's AI push is the acquisition last month of Undecidable Labs, a startup company founded by Cathy Edwards, a former director of engineering at Apple and now head of product and engineering for Google Images. Both parties refused to disclose terms of the acquisition, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Prior to founding Undecidable Labs, Edwards was responsible for product engineering at Apple with focus on App Store, Apple TV, iTunes, and Apple Maps. She succeeded Li Fan, who left Google and joined Pinterest as head of engineering in September. In her new role, Edwards will oversee Google's engineering and product development for image search, Bloomberg reports. But Google Images is not the only image search tool developed by the Mountain View company. There is Google Photos as well, which lets users manage their personal photo library and search for images to create animations or photo albums more quickly through the use of artificial intelligence. In September of this year, the company announced that Google Photos is now 94% more accurate in describing images, up from its previous 89.6% level of accuracy.

It would be interesting to see how Undecidable Labs – a company that develops a technology for converting online searches into purchases – could help Google monetize its image search business. Image search business has been a key component of Google's business for more than a decade now, but that area has not been exactly a huge contributor to its revenue stream. While Undecidable Labs is far from dabbling in the AI arena, its acquisition seems like a good start for Google to make its image search business more lucrative to users and eventually a large revenue source for the company. The idea is to leverage an intelligent image search to make inroads into e-commerce.

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