Apple quietly acquired computer vision startup Regaind – TechCrunch
TechCrunch has learned that Apple has acquired a small French startup called Regaind, according to multiple sources. As always, Apple is very quiet when it comes to acquisitions, but itâ€™s always interesting to learn more about Appleâ€™s interests.
Weâ€™ve reached out to Apple and the company sent us the following statement: â€œApple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discussÂ our purpose or plans.â€
This is Appleâ€™s standard statement to confirm an acquisition. From what I understand, Apple acquired Regaind earlier this year. The company had raised a bit less than $500,000 (â‚¬400,000) from Side Capital.
Regaind has been working on a computer vision API to analyze the content of photos. Apple added intelligent search to the Photos app on your iPhone a couple of years ago. For instance, you can search for â€œsunsetâ€ or â€œdogâ€ to get photos of sunsets and your dog.
In order to do this, Apple analyzes your photo library when youâ€™re sleeping. When you plug your iPhone to a charger and youâ€™re not using your iPhone, your device is doing some computing to figure out whatâ€™s inside your photos.
Regaind goes one step further and can tell you the technical and aesthetic values of your photos. For instance, if you shoot a bunch of photos in burst mode, Regaind could automatically find the best shot and use it as the main shot in your photo library. Regaind could also hide duplicates.
With this technology, Apple could improve the Memories tab in the Photos app. iOS automatically creates albums based on events, location and more. With Regaind, iOS could also look for photos that are visually similar, surface the best shot as a cover art and create a recap video with the best shots.
Interestingly, Regaind also analyzes your face to determine your gender, age and emotion. Itâ€™s unclear if Apple had enough time to leverage Regaind with iOS 11. Apple may have combined Regaind technology with the new Face ID sensor in the iPhone X to reinforce animoji facial expressions for instance. And Iâ€™m sure there will be more to come.
Itâ€™s also unclear if Apple plans to get Regaindâ€™s model to work on Appleâ€™s devices directly. Apple has recently reiterated its focus on privacy, so itâ€™s going to be interesting to learn more about Appleâ€™s integration of Regaindâ€™s technology when it comes to privacy.
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