Google has acquired image-based city-guide app Jetpac

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Google is continuing its acquisition binge in 2014 with the purchase of Jetpac, an iOS app that uses public information from Instagram photos to create image-driven city maps and guides. The move appears to be a step toward improving the search giant’s visual-search capabilities. Jetpac’s City Guides app offers users visual guides to local recommendations for bars, views and other hangout spots in more than 6,000 cities around the world. It serves up guides that are tailored to the user’s personal affinities or filtered by categories of places to go. It also has a “Snappyness” rating to show what visitors snap the most photos of at a specific venue.

Google just acquired the team behind Jetpac, an app that utilizes public Instagram data to determine things like the happiest or drunkest city. Jetpac launched in 2012 as a social travel guide on iPad but later shifted focus to its Instagram-driven data on its iphone app, “Jetpac City Guides.” Google will most likely use the Jetpac team to improve search around location information using photo data. Google already announced that it uses computer vision and machine learning to let you search your own photos for things like sunsets, food and flowers. Jetpac’s CTO Pete Warden is a computer vision expert and a natural fit for a Google acquisition here. Jetpac’s system looks for visual cues like the amount of pictures with mustaches in them to determine the fashion style or how many hipsters are in a certain location. This provides unique contextual information about an area where the photo was taken. It can tell you whether a coffee shop is actually chill like the reviews say or help you find bars women in their 30’s love, for instance. This goes beyond just a Yelp or Google Maps review to visual information about what is actually happening in a given location.

 

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