Google Buys Plink

The company's second acquisition this month will help strengthen its visual search capabilities.
In keeping with Google CEO Eric Schmidt's promise last year that his company planned to resume its previously rapid rate of acquisitions, Plink is now part of Google.

Plink, a U.K.-based start-up, launched four months ago to offer an Android application called PlinkArt that allows users to identify photographed artwork through visual search technology. PlinkArt's ability to recognize artwork depends on whether the captured image can be matched to one of the tens of thousands of famous paintings in the application's database.

PlinkArt duplicates some of the functionality of Google Goggles, a technology that Google introduced last December that can generate search queries from images of objects, such as landmarks, works of art, products, and bar codes.

Unsurprisingly, Plink's two founders say they'll be working on visual search at Google.

"The visual search engines of today can do some pretty cool things, but they still have a long, long way to go," said Plink co-founders Mark Cummins and James Philbin in a blog post. "We're looking forward to helping the Goggles team build a visual search engine that works not just for paintings or book covers, but for everything you see around you."

Google's investment in visual search technology reflects the company's desire to broaden its search business beyond the text ads that still represent most of the company's revenue.

Google has also been investing in voice recognition technology.

Plink is Google's 10th acquisition in the past six months and its second acquisition in April -- Google bought video start-up Episodic ten days ago.

Other recent Google acquisitions include: AdMob (pending regulatory approval), Gizmo5, Teracent, AppJet, Aardvark, reMail, Picnik, and DocVerse.