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AI has been a key part of Google's strategy, including the launch of Gradient Ventures this week
Artificial intelligence has become something of a buzzword in Silicon Valley these days, with seemingly every company now adding the phrase to their description, likely just to get noticed. That being said, there's some really interesting and important work being done in the space, and the bigger companies, including Google, Microsoft and Facebook, have taken notice. All of them have made AI a priority for their strategies going forward.
Google, which just on Monday launched a new early-stage AI investment firm, has now acquired Indian AI company Halli Labs, which announced the deal in a blog post. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed.
Halli Labs is a very young company, one that wrote its introductory blog post in May of this year. It described its mission like this: "Halli Labs is applying modern ML techniques to old problems and domains to help technology march on in its timeless purpose— that of giving superhuman powers to all of us humans in letting us do whatever we want to do, better."
Halli, as the company mentions, means "village" in Kannada.
Going forward, the company says that it "will be joining Google’s Next Billion Users team to help get more technology and information into more people’s hands around the world."
In a tweet, Caesar Sengupta, a product management VP at Google, welcomed Pankaj Gupta, founder and CEO of Halli Labs, as well as the rest of the team to the company, saying that he is, "Looking forward to building some cool stuff together." What that stuff would be, though, was not specificed and it's not clear what plans, if any, Google has for incorporating Halli Labs' technology,
“We are excited that the Halli Labs team is joining Google. They’ll be joining our team that is focused on building products that are designed for the next billion users coming online, particularly in India," Google said in a statement to the Economic Times.
VatorNews has reached out to Google and to Halli Labs for more information. We will update this story if we learn more
Google's AI strategy
As I mentioned earlier, Google has been making artificial intelligence a key part of its strategy. That includes the announcement of the formation of Gradient Ventures, a venture fund from Google with technical mentorship for early-stage startups focused on artificial intelligence. The firm has already made investments in companies that include Algorithmia, a marketplace for algorithms and functions, and Cogniac, a suite of tools used to create and manage visual models.
Google is far from the only major company making big acquisitions in the AI space, with Apple, Intel, Salesforce and Yahoo also making big moves, and big acquisitions, last year.
Just today, Microsoft launched its own research lab dedicated to artificial intelligence, called Microsoft Research AI, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has previously stated that AI is an integral part of everything the company is doing going forward.
"At Microsoft, we are focused on empowering both people and organizations, by democratizing access to intelligence to help solve our most pressing challenges. To do this, we are infusing AI into everything we deliver across our computing platforms and experiences," he said in 2016.
Mark Zuckerberg has also said that he sees big potential in this technology for Facebook going forward.
"At Facebook I spend a lot of time working with engineers to build new things. Some of the most rewarding work involves getting deep into the details of technical projects. I do this with Internet.org when we discuss the physics of building solar-powered planes and satellites to beam down internet access," he wrote when announcing his intention of building his own AI-assistant last year.
"I do this with Oculus when we get into the details of the controllers or the software we're designing. I do this with Messenger when we discuss our AI to answer any question you have. But it's a different kind of rewarding to build things yourself, so this year my personal challenge is to do that."
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