Mountain View-based tech giant Google has purchased Bangalore, India-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup Halli Labs in a move that the AI company says is intended to bring more technology and information to a wider scope of individuals globally. Caesar Sengupta, vice president of product management at Google, confirmed the acquisition via his Twitter account, though terms of the deal were not made public as of this writing. Halli Labs has also confirmed that its team will join Google’s Next Billion Users team, which aims to get more people to use the search giant’s existing and future products and services. For its part, Halli Labs claims it has been using machine learning techniques to fix what it says are “old problems” of a number of Internet-enabled solutions.
Halli Labs was founded by Pankaj Gupta, a data scientist who formerly served as lead for Twitter’s recommendation and personalization unit. He also held the position of a chief technology officer of Stayzilla, an online marketplace and hospitality service in India which announced earlier this year that it's shutting down. It remains to be seen what Halli Labs can contribute to Google’s wide array of initiatives, specifically its mission to bring its in-house technology to more people around the globe.
The search giant has been busy investing in AI as of late, including acquiring machine learning companies, funding AI organizations, and conducting AI-related research. The company is even seeking to fight cancer using AI and has recently unveiled a new investment arm that will focus exclusively on this emerging segment. Called Gradient Ventures, the new venture capital group aims to provide financial resources and technical guidance to AI startups. In April, the company’s Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai also revealed Google’s vision to become "an AI-first company," noting that the tech giant has now largely shifted to AI-based offerings, which include the Google Assistant and Google Photos, among other key services. In May, Google launched the AIY Projects, an initiative meant to allow creators to integrate AI into their creations. While the majority of those endeavors have taken place in the U.S., Google’s acquisition of Halli Labs now indicates that the company is also looking to expand the scope of its AI efforts to more territories.