Facebook acquires visual shopping startup GrokStyle Inc

Facebook has announced that it has acquired visual shopping and artificial intelligence startup GrokStyle Inc. in a move to bolster the social-media company’s own AI work. GrokStyle’s technology is integrated into popular Ikea’s mobile app.

When a user takes a picture of a piece of furniture, the technology would match it to similar products that could be purchased online. On the company’s website, GrokStyle said it is “winding down” its business and it is “moving on as a team” along with its technology. The company didn’t disclose that it is joining Facebook.

Facebook can use GrokStyle’s AI technology and employees to bolster its own efforts in the field. The startup’s specific technology also makes sense for Facebook Marketplace, the company’s service for buying and selling items from other Facebook users on its social network. Earlier this month, the company bought the team behind blockchain technology company Chainspace for an undisclosed sum.

Facebook spokeswoman Vanessa Chan said in a statement said:

We are excited to welcome GrokStyle to Facebook. Their team and technology will contribute to our AI capabilities. She declined to disclose a purchase price.

In a blog post, GrokStyle said:

We are incredibly proud of what we have built — and believe we have only scratched the surface of what is possible with computer vision. Today, we are excited to share that we are moving on as a team. Our team and technology will live on, and we will continue using our AI to build great visual search experiences for retail. As part of this next chapter, we are winding down our business.

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