Google buys Instagram-analyzing mobile app startup Jetpac

Google has purchased Jetpac, a startup that launched in 2012 and analyzes Instagram photos to build what it calls City Guides for travelers — stuff like which bars have the most women (or men), or which beaches have the best views. According to the Jetpac website, the company will “be removing Jetpac’s apps from the App Store in the coming days, and ending support for them on 9/15.”

It’s fairly easy to see how Jetpac’s product idea and technology could fit into Google’s overall mission, especially around local search, reviews and surfacing relevant information via Google Now. Google, it turns out, stores a lot of photos, too.

Jetpac shots from the App Store.

Jetpac shots from the App Store.

But Jetpac also has some serious technical chops: its co-founder and CTO Pete Warden is a computer vision expert who has integrated deep learning techniques into Jetpac’s image-analysis process and is working on an open source project around it. He’ll actually be speaking at our upcoming artificial intelligence and deep learning meetup, along with Google engineer and speech-recognition expert Johan Schalkwyk.

Here’s a video of Warden teaching his iPhone to recognize his cat.

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