Facebook snaps up visual search technology startup

Facebook acquires AI startup that helps you shop

Basic idea is to allow users to match furniture in an image to visually find similar ones at stores. The company didn't disclose it's joining Facebook.

Facebook has announced acquisition of a retail technology startup, GrokStyle, which is based out of San Francisco, U.S. and uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help users shop for furniture. A spokesperson from Facebook confirmed to Bloomberg that the social network is taking on both the technology of the startup and its team to "contribute to [its] AI capabilities".

"We are excited to welcome GrokStyle to Facebook", Facebook spokeswoman Vanessa Chan said in a statement. Last year, the company partnered with Ikea on its augmented reality furniture app. This is something that Pinterest introduced back in 2016, giving users the ability to zoom in on and select objects in a photo posted to the site, which they could then search for.

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On its website, GrokStyle said it is "winding down" its business, but that it is "moving on as a team" along with its technology.

That GrokStyle will continue to work on retail products for Facebook is interesting, as it might mean that the company is looking to develop its own AI-identifying tools. Earlier this month, the company bought the team behind blockchain technology company Chainspace for an undisclosed sum.

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