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Friday, February 3, 2023

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Plink: Google Buys Another Mobile Startup

No FTC review here: Google has acquired Plink a UK-based startup that offers specialized visual search (or augmented reality [sort of]) for art. You take a picture of an artwork or object d’art and information appears about the artist and/or the piece.

As the site makes clear, PlinkArt was simply the first in an intended build-out of visual search apps. Google has bought the company, probably for the team, to help develop Google Goggles, a promising but flawed platform/app that works only part of the time now. This acquisition and related engineering talent will no doubt improve Goggles considerably.

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A blog post on the Plink site announcing the acquisition says the following:

[W]e won’t be updating the app and will instead focus our development efforts on Google Goggles, so you’ll see new functionality appearing there in the future. The visual search engines of today can do some pretty cool things, but they still have a long long way to go. We’re looking forward to helping the Goggles team build a visual search engine that works not just for paintings or book covers, but for everything you see around you.

Visual search on mobile devices has the potential to be a huge area for Google (and differentiator for Android) if the user experience can be improved.


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