updated 12:03 am EDT, Tue October 2, 2012
Patent portfolio includes pattern evaluation, augmented reality
According to the Russian arm of Forbes Magazine, Google is close to a deal to purchase pattern and facial recognition firm Viewdle for more than $30 million dollars. The deal would net Google a large patent portfolio, focused on image recognition and augmented reality technology, such as that used to automatically tag photos or unlock a device based on a user's face.
Prior to its own purchase, Motorola Mobility had been evaluating purchase of the Ukranian startup. Talks broke down when Google acquired the mobile device manufacturer, but appear to have recommenced after the deal completed. Viewdle had been actively looking for a purchaser since the beginning of 2011, citing financial difficulties in advancing its product.
Google has acquired other augmented reality, pattern, and facial recognition firms in the past. Neven Vision was purchased in 2006, and its people and building recognition technology was ultimately folded into Picasa. Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition was acquired in 2011 for use with Android's maligned facial recognition unlock feature. Analysts believe that the acquisition is intended to combat Facebook's own auto-photo tagging feature with its own facial recognition software package.