Google buys Like.com, whose visual search engine helps people match clothes and other apparel online and purchase them from retailers.
Google confirmed Aug. 20 it has acquired Like.com, whose visual search
engine helps people match clothes and other apparel online and purchase them
Financial terms were not disclosed, though TechCrunch said
the deal is in the neighborhood of $100 million.
Like.com CEO and founder Munjal Shah
announced the deal on the Like.com
home page Aug. 20. A Google spokesperson told eWEEK, "We're pleased and
excited to welcome Like.com to Google, where they'll work closely with our
Search engines such as Google and Microsoft's Bing and e-commerce sites such
as Amazon.com do a fine job surfacing products such as books, electronics and
DVDs, commonly bought online based on reviews and ratings.
Like.com said it employs computer vision and machine learning technology to
peddle "soft goods" or those that are purchased based on a consumer's
personal style and "whether the item matches an outfit to current trends
and opinions of the fashion elite."
"With that in mind, we've developed technology that lets us understand
visually what terms like 'red high-heeled pumps' and 'floral patterned
sleeveless dress' mean and created algorithms to understand whether those pumps
complement or clash with that dress."
In effect, Google has acquired a visual search engine for fashionistas.
While Google won't say what it plans to do with the technology, the Google
spokesperson dropped hints in this statement:
"While Like.com will operate its Websites separately in the near term,
we're excited about the technology they've built and the domain expertise
they'll bring to Google as we continue to work on building great e-commerce
experiences for our users, advertisers and partners."
Like.com's technology could be applied to Google's Product
comparison shopping Website, which is in beta, or Google's Commerce
engine for retailers.
What is certain is Google is investing mightily in computer vision
technology, which enables visual search, for the desktop and mobile device.
Google in April acquired
visual art search engine Plink. This technology is
being used to fortify Google Goggles, the mobile visual search application
earlier this year.
Goggles, whose creator Hartmut Neven sold his company Neven Vision to Google
in 2006, lets users search for information about objects and locations by
snapping pictures with their smartphone camera.
Google's venture capital arm also invested
in Pixazza, which helps Web users purchase products
they see in photos on Websites.