With Madbits acquisition, Twitter beefs up its image search capability

Image search search startup Madbits announced yesterday that it had been acquired by Twitter. Madbits is a maker of image search and classification storage, enabling users to identify and sort images without additional[ tagging. Essentially, its built a software that recognizes what’s in a picture just by looking at it, like a human.

By bringing Madbits into the fold, Twitter is building out its own image recognition and searching capabilities to rival that of Facebook’s.Twitter has stated that part of its growth strategy is to move away from its text-based content and make the platform more attractive to new users, who don’t necessarily “get” the appeal of plain text.

Earlier this year, in an effort to gain more traction among non-traditional Twitter users,it added the ability to tag multiple people in photographs, and it also started showing images and videos in timelines. 

In a blog post about the sale, Madbits co-founders Clément Farabet and Louis-Alexandre Etezad-Heydari gave a few indications as to how their technology would be incorporated into Twitter:

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.

We prototyped and tested about ten different applications, and as we’ve prepared to launch publicly, we’ve decided to bring the technology to Twitter, a company that shares our ambitions and vision and will help us scale this technology.

As Twitter anticipates more images being uploaded to its platform, the Madbits technology will aid in classifying and storing those images for easy access.

For Madbits users however, the platform will begin winding down its service, becoming fully absorbed into the Twitter brand.

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