Google Buys Jetpac To Give Context To Visual Searches

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Google just acquired the team behind Jetpac, an app that utilizes public Instagram data to determine things like the happiest or drunkest city. Jetpac launched in 2012 as a social travel guide on iPad but later shifted focus to its Instagram-driven data on its iphone app, “Jetpac City Guides.”

iPhoneSnappyness@2xGoogle will most likely use the Jetpac team to improve search around location information using photo data.  Google already announced that it uses computer vision and machine learning to let you search your own photos for things like sunsets, food and flowers. Jetpac’s CTO Pete Warden is a computer vision expert and a natural fit for a Google acquisition here.

Jetpac’s system looks for visual cues like the amount of pictures with mustaches in them to determine the fashion style or how many hipsters are in a certain location. This provides unique contextual information about an area where the photo was taken. It can tell you whether a coffee shop is actually chill like the reviews say or help you find bars women in their 30’s love, for instance. This goes beyond just a Yelp or Google Maps review to visual information about what is actually happening in a given location.

Jetpac has also achieved real-time local object recognition on video from a phone’s camera. This technology could possibly enhance Google Goggles.

Jetpac will be pulling the app from the App Store in the next few days and ending support on September 15. Details behind the acquisition and the amount are not being released at this time.