Google bought an AI company for $400 million

DeepMind is a company you’re probably not too familiar with. It’s OK, I’ve never heard of them until today. According to Re/Code, they’re a three year old 50+ person start-up that’s received at least $50 million in funding. The company’s own website says they “combine the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms.” Well, Google just bought them.

How much? While Google won’t confirm this number, the estimated price is $400 million. What does Google want an artificial intelligence company? Let’s see, better AI could be used to enhance search, enhance Google’s driverless cars, better serve advertisements, make better use of all the sensor data inside an Android device, help Google maintain their disgustingly large data centers, and the list just goes on and on.

When will we hear about DeepMind technology being used in a new Google product or service? Probably never. Google never details how their services work, they just thrust them upon the world and hope people take notice. For all we know, DeepMind’s algorithms could be put to use in increasing AdSense sales by a fraction of a percentage point by this time next month. There will be no way to tell.

How are competitors reacting to the DeepMind acquisition? They’re probably pretty upset. Apple has Siri. Microsoft allegedly has something called Cortana. And Facebook has been desperately trying to figure out what information to show you and what to hide from your NewsFeed.