Google to acquire Artificial Intelligence firm DeepMind

January 26
9:59 PM 2014

Google confirmed to Re/code that it would be buying artificial intelligence startup DeepMind. Although the report said Google would be paying $400 million for the purchase, Google did not specify the price tag to Re/code.

DeepMind is a London-based firm founded by Demis Hassabis, Jaan Tallin and Shane Legg. Hassabis is a neuroscientist and chess prodigy while Tallin is the developer of Skype and Kazaa. Legg is a researcher. Citing online bios, the report said that Hassabis served as the brains with MindSports Olympiad calling him as "probably the best games player in history."

Sources told Re/code that Google Chief Executive Officer Larry Page headed the acquisition. They added that the purchase is considered mainly as an artificial intelligence talent acquisition, the report said.

In its website landing page, DeepMind said it makes learning algorithms for simulations, games and e-commerce. The startup has been in existence for the past three years based on its LinkedIn profiles, the report said.

People also said that Founders Fund and Horizons Ventures are DeepMind's major backers, the report said.

According to a TechCrunch report, the acquisition is the newest move by Google to hire more experts in artificial intelligence. Google engaged the services of Ray Kurzweil to become the director or engineering who will focus on machine learning and language processing in December 2012. Kurzweil is an inventor, entrepreneur, author and futurist who has said that he wants to create a very advanced search engine that would be able to act as a "cybernetic friend."

The acquisition of the artificial intelligence startup will enable Google to rival its peers in the tech industry that are all trying to turn their sights to deep learning in order to harness advantages in business, TechCrunch reported. The report cited Facebook's hiring of Yann LeCunn, a professor at NYU, to head it is new artificial intelligence laboratory while Yahoo also recently bought LookFlow, a photo analysis startup, to lead the company's newly-established deep learning group.

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