Google acquires API.AI to build conversational interfaces

The startup represents Google's latest investment in machine-learning technologies that enable natural language interfaces.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Google on Monday said that it's acquiring the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based startup API.AI, continuing its investment in machine learning technologies that enable natural language interfaces. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"API.AI has a proven track record for helping developers design, build and continuously improve their conversational interfaces," wrote Google Vice President of Engineering Scott Huffman in a blog post. More than 60,000 developers are using API.AI to build conversational experiences for Slack, Facebook Messenger, Kik, and other environments, he noted.

API.AI also created Assistant, its own leading conversational assistant app with more than 20 million users.

"Joining Google will allow us to accelerate improvements to the platform and service our growing developer community in ways we've always dreamed," wrote API.AI CEO Ilya Gelfenbeyn in a blog post. "With Google's knowledge, infrastructure and support, we can make sure you get access to the best available technologies and developments in AI and machine learning."

Earlier this year, Google launched in open beta the new Google Cloud Natural Language API, which allows a user to reveal the structure and meaning of text. Meanwhile, Google's upcoming messaging app Allo understands natural language patterns.

Editorial standards