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Amazon acquires image recognition oriented start-up

08 April 2016 - 16:19 by Mike Price

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Late last year e-commerce giant, Amazon, added another emerging firm to its list of acquisitions, keeping this information relatively low profile until Bloomberg reported on the move this week.

The company in question is Orbeus, which focuses its operations on creating artificial intelligence that is capable of determining what items and objects are present in a picture or photo. This kind of image recognition means that computers are capable of perceiving the world in a similar way to humans and could have obvious applications in terms of safe shopping online.

While the takeover has not been officially confirmed, sources claim that it was completed in the autumn of 2015, according to Business Insider. And with recent reports of Amazon working towards introducing selfie-based payment authentication, imaging is clearly an area in which it holds a significant interest.

Image recognition is getting smarter all the time, with companies like Google offering services which can catalogue pictures based on what is featured in them. But when it comes to retail, there are even more reasons to add this tech to the mix.

For example, when someone is out and about and they see a product they like, it would be an advantage to be able to search for it by simply snapping a picture, rather than having to take a guess with a text-based search.

The advantage of using artificial intelligence to handle image recognition is that through neural networks and machine learning, computers can automatically get better at recognising objects over time, rather than requiring humans to program them directly.

Amazon has yet to confirm whether or not Orbeus and its technologies have joined its company, but the likelihood is that this is exactly the kind of start-up that the ambitious retailer would want to acquire.