Google Adds Yet Another AI Acquisition in UK's DeepMind
Google's combination of DeepMind and Boston Dynamics could prove to be the basis for the development of some very, very smart robots.When a company has money to spend, it either has to invest it or find some way to give it back to investors. Google indeed has the money—$56.5 billion in cash, give or take a few million—and it is making investors plenty of money, but it's also on an acquisition roll to which few companies can relate. The Web search and services giant revealed Jan. 27 that it has purchased London-based artificial intelligence software provider DeepMind for about $400 million in cash, reportedly beating out Facebook in a bit of a bidding war. DeepMind is the ninth robotics-oriented acquisition Google has made in nine months. DeepMind, founded in 2011 by Demis Hassabis, Mustafa Suleyman and Shane Legg, develops software for machine learning and neuroscience using powerful general-purpose learning algorithms. The privately held, 75-employee company's first commercial applications were in simulations, e-commerce and games.
In December, Google bought Waltham, Mass.-based Boston Dynamics, which makes custom robots for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Sony.