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DEEPMIND JOINS GOOGLE SEARCH: Google recently acquired artificial intelligence startup DeepMind for a reported price tag of $US400 million. Although the startup had not yet released a product (it was in the late stages of developing advanced AI systems for images, games, and online commerce), DeepMind competed for talent with Google, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, and other tech giants, and its 50 person team is packed with talent. That team will now be working directly with Google’s search team (called the “Knowledge” group), according to Re/code.
DeepMind has a few U.S. patent applications involving reverse and composite image search, so the team is likely working on some advanced image recognition technology that Google was interested in.
“Rumour is that Google is getting very good at identifying individuals in photos, but they are holding off from rolling out that technology,” said Jim Hendler, an artificial intelligence researcher at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, whom we spoke with recently. “From what I understand, Google is going after contextual image recognition, such as identifying whether a photo is of a social setting, if it was taken outdoors, indoors, etc.,” Hendler told us.
If DeepMind was holding patents to technology that could distill the elements of a composite image, that would be extremely valuable to Google. To learn more about Google’s knowledge graph, check out our new report on big data >
EDITORS MAY RULE FACEBOOK’S FORTHCOMING MOBILE NEWS APP: Reports have been floating around for some time that Facebook is launching a mobile news app called Paper under the guidance of Vice President of Product (and close confidant to Mark Zuckerberg) Chris Cox. It could launch this month. Facebook has been hiring editors who will “oversee around 10 different news verticals on a wide range of topics, curating a mix of the ‘best stories’ within each particular subject area … ” according to Re/code, which spoke with sources familiar with the project. All stories featured in Paper will be selected entirely by these editors, which is surprising considering how much control Facebook gives algorithms to control News Feed content. Perhaps Facebook is using Paper as a control environment to test the performance of its News Feed algorithm against well-trained editors. (Re/code)
GOOGLE’S MOBILE USER TRACKER: Google’s new user tracking software, which is intended to help advertisers collect data on consumers, has been located in the Ads section within Google’s Settings mobile app. Advertising ID, as it is called, is running on newer versions of Android phones, such as KitKat. Not much is known yet about what exactly the Ad ID is tracking or how sophisticated the software is; there have been reports that Google may use it to eventually “kill the cookie.” If you have any insight into Google’s plans for the Ad ID, you can email me at [email protected] (Business Insider)
PINTEREST ANNOUNCES INTERESTS PAGE: Pinterest has released a preview of its new “Interests” page, which curates a personalised catalogue of photos based on previous images you’ve pinned. The Interests page is intended to make it easier to stumble upon content on Pinterest that you are, well, already showing an interest in. It is yet another move by Pinterest’s product team to improve content relevancy. Recently, Pinterest acquired image recognition startup VisualGraph, and it could could use that technology to constantly improve upon the Interests product. (Pinterest Blog)
A SOCIAL + MOBILE CASE STUDY FROM FORBES: The synergy between mobile and social is becoming ever more important for print publications to stay in business, and Forbes has released a case study exemplifying this. Forbes.com had 75 million total visitors in December 2013, and one-third of that traffic came from mobile. Approximately 10 million visits came by way of a social media referral. These numbers are low compared to publications that got their start in the digital age, but for publishers that began with print editions (as Forbes did in 1917), it goes to show that old media can longer afford to ignore mobile and social. (Forbes)
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