Google reportedly buying AR, facial-recognition firm Viewdle

Google is allegedly finalising a deal to purchase a firm that specialises in bringing facial recognition and AR technology to mobile devices.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

Google has reportedly purchased mobile facial-recognition and augmented-reality (AR) startup Viewdle.

A source familiar with the deal told ZDNet's sister site CNET that the deal has been in the works for more than a year, and is expected to close this week.

Details of the takeover have not been officially disclosed, and Google has declined to respond, stating that it does not comment on rumour or speculation. However, the source said that the price would be toward the high end in the US$30 million to US$45 million range, consistent with what a source told Forbes — that the deal is similar to Google's recent acquisitions of Neven Vision and PittPatt in terms of monetary value.

When ZDNet asked Viewdle to comment on the claims, CEO Jason Mitura said that the questions should be referred to a Motorola Mobility spokesperson. Motorola did not respond to requests for comment at the time of writing.

Google acquired Motorola Mobility earlier this year for US$12.5 billion.

Viewdle's technology identifying multiple subjects in real time on a mobile device. (Credit: Viewdle)

What Google will use Viewdle's technology for is purely speculative at this point, but it appears as though it could go in any manner of directions. The company drew a large investment of US$10 million from Best Buy, BlackBerry Partners Fund, and Qualcomm in 2010, later developing an AR game called Third Eye for the Android platform. It also developed SocialCamera on Facebook.

Other uses of Viewdle's technology include real-time facial recognition on Android to allow people in videos to be identified, and touch-free gesture recognition, so that users can operate mobile devices from a distance, such as while driving a car.

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