Twitter buys machine learning firm Magic Pony

The acquisition will add new cognitive muscle to Twitter's video capabilities, especially in the high-value area of live video.

Twitter said Monday it plans to acquire Magic Pony Technology, a London-based company that makes machine learning and image processing tools. The acquisition will add new cognitive muscle to Twitter's video capabilities, especially in the high-value area of live video.

In a blog post, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the deal reflects the micro-blogging site's focus on deep learning technology, which he said is "increasingly at the core of everything we build at Twitter".

"It's powering much of the work we're doing to make it easier to create, share, and discover the very best content so that every time you open Twitter you're immersed in the most relevant news, stories, and events," Dorsey said.

Twitter has bought multiple machine learning startups over the last two years, starting with the acquisition of New York-based Madbits in 2014 and followed by a deal to buy Whetlab in June 2015.

In combination, these three companies bolster Twitter's ability to meld predictive and deep learning technologies into the basic user experience and functionality of the platform. For instance, Madbits gave Twitter improved image search technology and the ability to organize large databases of images, whereas Whetlabs added to Twitter's intelligent prediction capabilities.

Magic Pony, meanwhile, will bring machine learning techniques that Twitter can use to process images and videos shot on smartphones in new ways. This could include live video as well as image and video-based content for augmented and virtual reality.

Magic Pony's relatively small team will join Twitter's Cortex division, comprised of engineers, data scientists, and machine learning researchers. The team will be split between London and Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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