Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
Twitter is increasing its focus on images after it quietly acquired deep-learning startup Madbits.
GigaOm first reported the deal, which appears to have closed on Monday according to the Madbits website — although there has been no announcement from Twitter at this point.
Deep-learning has developed into quite the buzzword as startups sprout up promising to pore through the mountains of information on the internet — both public and private — to help us better understand trends, information, people and more. Madbits comes with quite a pedigree — founders Clément Farabet and Louis-Alexandre Etezad-Heydari were students of New York University professor Yann LeCun, the man who runs Facebook’s artificial intelligence operations.
As for what the company’s technology specifically does — and could do for Twitter — the Madbits website explains:
Over this past year, we’ve built visual intelligence technology that automatically understands, organizes and extracts relevant information from raw media. Understanding the content of an image, whether or not there are tags associated with that image, is a complex challenge. We developed our technology based on deep learning, an approach to statistical machine learning that involves stacking simple projections to form powerful hierarchical models of a signal.
Twitter has placed great emphasis on multimedia, and images in particular, over the past year, as a vehicle to grow its userbase and drive greater awareness of its advertising potential, for revenues. Madbits could help it identify the motives and meaning behind users’ photos, introduce photo-based search, categorize images or add other interesting functions.
We’ll have to wait on details of the actual plan, however. We’ve reached out to Twitter for comment — we’ll update this story with more details as we get them.
Headline image via Leon Neal / AFP / Getty Imags
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