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Google buys UK search engine startup

Plink identifies art & enables users to buy prints

Google has acquired a two-person UK startup called Plink that scored a hit with a mobile phone application that identifies artworks and enables users to buy a print.

Plink, based in Oxford, was founded by Mark Cummins and James Philbin, who will now both work for Google. The technology comes from their doctorate degree research in the mobile robotics and visual geometry groups at the University of Oxford's department of engineering science.

Their mobile application, called PlinkArt, hit 50,000 users within four weeks. It gives users information about an artwork, let users share it with friends and allow people to order a print.

The application, which only works on the Google Android operating system, will still be available but not updated. Cummins and Philbin will now work on Google Goggles, a project that lets users search Google by submitting photographs from mobile phones.

"Google has already shown that it's serious about investing in this space with Google Goggles, and for the Plink team the opportunity to take our algorithms to Google-scale was just too exciting to pass up," according to Plink's blog.

The acquisition price was not disclosed.


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