Google has been on another shopping spree and has acquired a company called “Jetpac” which is a “neural network” company that has created a city guide app.
The Jetpac app – which is currently only available for iPhone – sounds pretty clever. Essentially, using some complex image analysis of millions of public Instagram and Flickr photos, it will recommend to you places to go based on different criteria, such as the most scenic – or even the “most Hipster”.
The obvious application for Jetpac’s technology is going to be in Google Maps, which recently got an “Explore” button, designed to enable serendipitous discovery. Jetpac’s technology could conceivably enable it to get much smarter.
Similarly this development follows the recent news from Yahoo that the company is working on algorithms to determine the “most beautiful” point between A&B, rather than just the fastest – using a similar analysis of photos taken. Conceivably, we could start seeing new options on Google Maps for a scenic option soon.
Presumably though the hire is also off the back of the “neural” technology powering the app, which is said to mimic the way the brain processes data. Google has long stated that its goal is to catalogue the world’s information, and this sort of thinking could provide another means of making sense of it. Another app made by the company is designed to recognise objects held up to your phone’s camera – imagine if that was built into, say, Google Glass.
We’re not sure what this means for the fate of Jetpac’s app, so if you want to try it out grab it on the app store whilst you still can.