How Google's acquistion of AI startup DeepMind could change the way you search

Google on Sunday said it had agreed to acquire privately held artificial intelligence company DeepMind Technologies.

Over the weekend, Google acquired artificial intelligence company DeepMind Technologies. As of yet, Google has not confirmed the price, though it's pegged to be around the $400 million mark. Given that DeepMind deals with artificial intelligence, everyone naturally assumed that the new acquisition was going to play a big role in Google's recent love for robotics.


However this is not the case and the DeepMind technology is likely to be put to use in search, reports Re/Code, quoting sources. The report says that DeepMind will be a part of the search team or the Knowledge Group as it is called within the company. This group is led by Google SVP Alan Eustance, but DeepMind is expected to work closely with a team led by Jeff Dean, a 15-year Google veteran. The report mentions what it has been working on though, with sources saying it was developing three products one of which is a game with a very advanced AI, a smarter recommendation system for online commerce, and new ways of image recognition. All three use machine learning as their basis and revolve around computers learning themselves without having to be programmed, and this is the part that has got Google most excited.


The last part is rather interesting because a report in the New Scientist says DeepMind's acquisition has a lot to do with Google's image search plans. Two patents filed for by DeepMind earlier this year give us a hint as to what their role within Google could be. The first one talks about ways to improve "reverse image search", which Google has turned on already, but is more than a bit wonky if you have ever used it. DeepMind's algorithm would compare the similarities between two uploaded reference images to reverse search it. The second filing would let users to narrow down a small or specific part of the image to improve the accuracy.


Having said that Google rarely makes public which acquired technology is put to use where and as has been seen in the past, one idea can have multiple applications within the Internet giant's many services. So we might never know exactly where DeepMind's work has been put to use, but we will be keeping an eye out for any changes in the search experience to confirm the speculation.

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