Nokia buys Desti to supplement Here Maps

Summary:Desti, a spinout from SRI International, uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to help travelers find what they're looking for.

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It looks like Nokia is expanding its HERE Maps mapping business with its acquisition of the mapping startup Desti, a spinout from SRI International — the same group responsible for Apple's Siri. This is the Finnish company's first purchase since it sold its phone-making business to Microsoft last month

Desti uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to help travelers find what they're looking for. For instance, if someone is looking for a low-cost place to stay on a business trip, Desti mines through hotel reviews and descriptions and weeds out the options that would appeal to partying college kids or lovers on a romantic getaway.

The overall goal is to end the tedious process of clicking through search results, since the system uses the context around the search questions — or as Desti calls it, "a natural dialogue" — to give tailored and individualized results.

It's not clear exactly how Desti will be incorporated into HERE, but the assumption is that it will aim to make the system more intuitive. Now that Nokia is making its APIs available to third parties, Desti could either be kept for use in Nokia's services or shared with developers.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Topics: Apps, Mobility, Nokia

About

Natalie Gagliordi is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in Louisville, Kentucky, covering business technology for ZDNet. She previously worked as the editor of Kiosk Marketplace, an online B2B trade publication that focused on interactive self-service technology, while also contributing to additional websites that covered retail tec... Full Bio

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