Google Acquires London-Based Artificial Intelligence Startup DeepMind for $400 Million

by Istvan Fekete on January 27, 2014

Google has agreed to shell out more than $400 million for London-based artificial intelligence company DeepMind, says Re/code, while The Information reports that the amount is even higher than $500 million. The three-year old company had also been in talks with Facebook.

The announcement comes shortly after Google announced a multibillion-dollar deal with Nest, as it steps into the smart home market. DeepMind, however, is a totally different acquisition: while the amount paid is still for talent, the deal will help the search giant company to compete against other major tech companies, as the new front appears to be deep learning. Facebook, for example, has hired NYU professor Yann LeCunn to head its new artificial intelligence lab; the Watson supercomputer (IBM) is working on deep learning and, as it turns out, Yahoo is also focusing on deep learning via its recent acquisition, the photo analysis startup LookFlow.

As Re/code’s sources point out, the acquisition was lead by Google CEO Larry Page in person. The search giant has been putting an effort into attracting artificial intelligence experts to its team, and with the DeepMind deal, its founders – the most notable talent is Demis Hassabis, a neuroscientist and former chess child prodigy – work for Google now. Hassabis and the other two members of DeepMind – Skype and Kazaa developer Jaan Tallin and researcher Shane Legg – will join inventor, entrepreneur, futurist and author Ray Kurzweil, who has been part of the Google team since 2012 as director of engineering focused on machine learning and language processing.

Just a side note here: earlier this month, Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson said in a CNBC TV interview that Apple is less innovative than Google. Yeah, he may be right if we agree that acquiring a company equates to innovation.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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