Google acquiring startup from CS department at University of Toronto

Summary:Google tapped into an unlikely source for its latest acquisition: the computer science department at the University of Toronto.

In a move showing it looks beyond Silicon Valley to fill gaps, Google is also tapping into centers of higher learning for acquisitions.

See also: Western Digital investing $51M in solid-state storage maker Skyera

That can be seen through the Internet giant's newly-revealed purchase of DNNresearch Inc., a company spawned from the computer science department at the University of Toronto.

The news was confirmed on Tuesday by the Canadian university. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the announcement did note that the bid follows up a $600,000 gift that Google awarded to one of the startup's co-founders, Professor Geoffrey Hinton, and his research group to support further work in the area of neural nets.

However, details about where DNNresearch will fit in at Google remain slightly unclear.

It could be seen as both a talent and product acquisition being that DNNresearch was touted by the university as having produced "a system that dramatically improved the state of the art in object recognition."

Hinton's neural nets research was said to revolve around speech recognition, computer vision and language understanding.

Thus, the results could end up being incorporated in anything and everything from voice search to future apps on Google Glass .

Moving forward, Hinton will spend time at Google’s Toronto office as well as several months of the year at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

Thus, the deal has been designed to allow Hinton to divide his time between his obligations to the university and Google.

Two of Hinton's graduate students and fellow co-founders, Alex Krizhevsky and Ilya Sutskever, will also be joining Google.

Topics: Start-Ups, Google, Government


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider,, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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