Facebook Acquires Visual Search Technology Startup

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According to Bloomberg, Facebook has acquired an artificial intelligence startup that could change the way that people browse Marketplace. The social media giant has acquired a company that is called GrokStyle, which created a visual search technology that allows users to take a photo of a real-world object and use it to look for similar items online. It is the same technology that is powering the visual search function of the Ikea Place app — TechCrunch says that it was so impressive that the Swedish company wanted to roll it out as one of the features of its app “on first sight.”

A farewell letter was posted by GrokStyle has posted on its website, however, it did mention the acquisition of Facebook. It only disclosed that the firm is winding down its business and that its employees are “moving on as a team.” A spokesperson from Facebook confirmed to Bloomberg that the social network is taking on both the technology of the startup and its team to “contribute to [its] AI capabilities.”

The spokesperson did not elaborate on how the team and tech will expand on the AI efforts of Facebook. However, given the nature of the technology and that Facebook rolled out other AI features for Marketplace in the past, people could assume that the firm is looking to integrate visual search into its Craigslist-like section. Maybe someday, people will be able to take a photo of that chic hotel accent chair and use the photo to find out if a neighbour is selling something that is similar on the platform for a bargain.