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Google Buys U.K. Start-Up Plink, a Shazam for Art


Google has just announced it's buying up Plink, a nifty little U.K. start-up that calls itself a visual search engine developer. The plan is to apply its algorithms to Google's visual search platform, Goggles. Launched just four months ago by a pair of British PhD students, Mark Cummins and James Philbin, Plink's app, PlinkArt, allows users to take photos of paintings with their smartphones before analyzing and identifying them. Think Shazam, but for images, rather than sounds.

Cummins and Philbin, who met at Oxford University's Engineering department—one studying mobile robotics, (this, not this) the other visual geometry—are pretty happy by the news, posting this on the Plink blog. "We started Plink to bring the power of visual search to everyone, and we're delighted to be taking a big step towards that goal today." Their PlinkArt app, however, will not be updated, as all the team's work is to be focused on Goggles.

With search engine use leveling out in the U.S., the big new battleground is mobile search. Google's Goggles is already ahead of the game, and Plink's expertise will be used "not just for paintings or book covers, but for everything you see around you."