Nokia, now lightened of its handset load thanks to Microsoft, has made an acquisition to expand its HERE mapping business, one of the assets that has remained with the Finnish company. It has bought Desti, a mapping startup and app maker that uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to help people find what they are looking for. Desti is a spin-out from SRI International, the same group that produced Siri, now part of Apple. As part of the deal, the existing Desti app will be shut down. Don Zereski, VP of search and discovery at HERE, says it will be wound down “within the next 90 days.” The iOS app has already been pulled from the App Store.
It looks like Nokia is expanding its HERE Maps mapping business with its acquisition of the mapping startup Desti, a spinout from SRI International — the same group responsible for Apple’s Siri. This is the Finnish company’s first purchase since it sold its phone-making business to Microsoft last month. Desti uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to help travelers find what they’re looking for. For instance, if someone is looking for a low-cost place to stay on a business trip, Desti mines through hotel reviews and descriptions and weeds out the options that would appeal to partying college kids or lovers on a romantic getaway. The overall goal is to end the tedious process of clicking through search results, since the system uses the context around the search questions — or as Desti calls it, “a natural dialogue” — to give tailored and individualized results.