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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Google acquires Jetpac iPhone app

September 23rd, 2014 by Susan Smith

Not to be outdone by some of Google’s larger acquisitions, Jetpac, a contextual image company, has been acquired by the search engine giant. What Google wants from Jetpac is their iPhone app that helps users find destinations using shared smartphone photos. It is also a very powerful crowdsourcing tool.


The startup will be removing its apps from the iTunes App Store within days, and plans to end support for its products on Sept. 15. No further details of the transaction were disclosed. Jetpac is a relatively small company including  co-founders Julian Green, who is CEO, and Pete Warden, CTO; head of marketing Cathrine Lindblom Gunasekara; and data engineer Dave Fearon.

Based in San Francisco and founded in 2011, Jetpac offers a “City Guides” iPhone app that lets users find new destinations through contextual searches of photographs that have been uploaded to the image-sharing site Instagram. They employ a blend of big data, image processing, machine technology and design with up-to-date mobile technology for a very crowd-centric approach to mobile computing. According to Jetpac’s LinkedIn profile, the app “can tell you where the happiest bars are, where to find the most scenic hikes, or hipster coffee places in any city in the world.”

Another Jetpac app, Spotter, allows people to point their iPhones at anything and identify what the object is. Their Deep Belief system teaches a phone to recognize objects in realtime. All users have to do is take a short detailed video of an object and include the object’s surrounding. Then the user can scan surroundings with the iPhone camera and it will identify when it is pointing at the object which the user taught it to recognize.

Google’s approach is to add this type of technology to its “Internet of Things” – with the goal of interconnecting all the world’s devices. In this past year it has acquired a wide range of companies from the smart-thermostat company Nest Labs, to satellite imaging company Skybox Imaging, to the drone company Titan Aerospace.

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Categories: Big Data, climate change, cloud, conversion, crowd source, data, drones, geocoding, geospatial, GIS, Google, image-delivery software, indoor location technology, iPhone, location based services, mapping, mobile

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