Google Buys Clever Sense, Answering Apple's Siri Buy
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Dec. 13 made its second food-related acquisition since acquiring Zagat in September, snapping up restaurant-recommendation-engine specialist Clever Sense for an undisclosed sum.
Clever Sense only launched the Android flavor of its application, called Alfred, last week. The company first introduced Alfred for the iPhone and iPad this past summer.
Using machine-learning technology, Alfred makes culinary, bar and club recommendations based on smartphone users' preferences, location and context. Alfred racks up a treasure trove of experiences the user has sampled.
Ideally, the more a consumer uses the application, the more relevant future recommendations will be. Alfred can explain why it makes the recommendations it does for each user.
Alfred recalls Siri, the voice-powered intelligent assistant Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has included with its latest iPhone 4S smartphone. However, while Siri software spans a number of different information sources, including gauging weather and other info, Alfred focuses on finding users food that will most appeal to them.
It stands to reason Google will work with the Clever Sense team to make Alfred include more than food in future iterations of the technology.
"The Clever Sense team is at the forefront of developing a recommendation engine that connects the online and offline worlds by delivering personal and sophisticated information to users at the right time, the right place and within the right context," a Google spokesperson told eWEEK.
"By combining their technology and expertise with our team and products, we'll be able to provide even more people with intelligent, personalized recommendations for places to eat, visit and discover."
Google declined to say how Alfred would be integrated into its Web services.
However, Clever Sense CEO Babak Pahlavan may have provided a clue when he wrote on the company's Website that he and his team are excited to join Google and "start a new chapter in curating the world ... Google helps local businesses connect with potential customers, and its worldwide presence can bring the value of Clever Sense to a much larger audience.
Given that statement, we could see Alfred software augmenting Google's Places local-search service. Both could also work with the Google Offers daily deals. TechCrunch suggested Alfred could be tied into the new Google Schemer social activity recommendation application.