Rub shoulders with leading experts and industry disruptors at TNW Conference →

The heart of tech

This article was published on August 16, 2014


Google buys city guides app Jetpac, support to end on September 15

Google buys city guides app Jetpac, support to end on September 15 Image by: AFP/Getty Images
Josh Ong
Story by

Josh Ong

Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him a Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].

Google has acquired the team behind Jetpac, an iPhone app for crowdsourcing city guides from public Instagram photos.

The app will be pulled from the App Store in coming days, and support for the service will be discontinued on September 15.

screen568x568Jetpac’s deep learning software used a nifty trick of scanning our photos to evaluate businesses and venues around town. As MIT Technology Review notes, the app could tell whether visitors were tourists, whether a bar is dog-friendly and how fancy a place was.

It even employed humans to find hipster spots by training the system to count the number of mustaches and plaid shirts.

Interestingly, Jetpac’s technology was inspired by Google researcher Geoffrey Hinton, so it makes perfect sense for Google to bring the startup into its fold. If this means that Google Now will gain the ability to automatically alert me when I’m entering a hipster-infested area, then I’m an instant fan.

Jetpac also built twoiOS apps that tapped into its Deep Belief neural network to offer users object recognition.

“Imagine all photos tagged automatically, the ability to search the world by knowing what is in the world’s shared photos, and robots that can see like humans,” the App Store description for its Spotter app reads. If that’s not a Googly description, I don’t know what is.

Jetpac

(h/t Ouriel Ohayon)

Thumbnail image credit: GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images