This time Sergei Brin and Larry Page reportedly paid out $500 million to acquire UK based DeepMind, taking their acquisitions during the last month to at least $4 billion.
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Larry Page / Getty Images/Justin Sullivan
According to industry reports Google CEO Larry Page was the instigator of this particular takeover, and was involved right up to the final stages of negotiations with DeepMind, who specialize in the development of artificial intelligence through a combination of machine learning techniques and systems neuroscience.
DeepMind was founded three years ago by renowned neuroscientist Demis Hassabis, in partnership with Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman. The company employs a staff of around fifty, and is known to have been the recipient of around $50 million in venture capital funding.
Founders Fund are known to have been major investor in DeepMind, with Horizons Ventures. Jaan Tallinn, a well known software developer for both Skype and Kazaa is known to have been an early stage advisor for the company as well as an investor.
The development of artificial intelligence has always been of tremendous interest to Google and especially Larry Page. Currently the technologies being used by Google as a key constituent in the development of translation and voice recognition technologies.
Larry Page was the driving force behind the launch of Google’s top-secret Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab initiative during 2013. The initiative was formed in partnership with NASA with the brief of “building better models of the world to make more accurate predictions, ” according to a report issued in the Forbes magazine at that time.
Running the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab is Ray Kurzweil, who Google brought in during 2012 to apply his intensive knowledge of artificial intelligence and augmented reality.
Kurzweil is acknowledged as being one of the world’s leading experts on a variety of technological fields not only artificial intelligence but also optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, augmented reality, speech recognition technology, and the development of electronic keyboard instruments, with particularly optimistic outlooks on such mind-boggling subjects as life extension technology, in which Larry Page is particularly interested, as well as nanotechnology, robotics, and biotechnology.
Augmented reality describes the concept of enhancing real-world environments through the implementation of with computer-based sensory inputs such as sound, video and graphics.
Industry observers point out once again that Google may be purchasing a developing talent as much as a company with Demis Hassabis regarded as being one of the most precocious talents in the rapidly developing world of information technology, who first came to the public attention as a child prodigy in the world of competitive chess, and later labelled as among the best game players in history.
Google’s interest in DeepMind may well have been driven by the fact they are still regarded as “the last prominent independently owned company with a strong focus on artificial intelligence, ” capable of competing at eyeball level not only with Google, but also Facebook and Baidu, the Chinese equivalent of Google.
Industry sources report that DeepMind have been making considerable strides in developing new approaches relating to artificial intelligence, and as well as succeeding to apply them to a variety of applications, particularly a recommendation system that could revolutionize the face of e-commerce.
DeepMind makes for Google’s fourth major acquisition in January, for speaking up— it first bought Bitspin, the Zurich, Switzerland based company behind the Android alarm clock Timely, once again for an undisclosed sum. The largest purchase for the month was Nest Labs, with Page and Bryn paying out $3.2 billion for the company which makes home thermostats, rapidly following that up by acquiring Impermium, a start-up involved in Internet security, with once again both parties keeping tight lipped about the price.