I think that illustrates the kind of company Google is looking out for to achieve long term goals: those that solve tough and modular, but not necessarily fashionable problems (as opposed to, say, acquiring Digg.com, which has a great community but is neither a back-end module you can plug-in to existing services, nor does it tackle very tough problems... though who knows, they might just end up buying on both ends).
And image recognition is a tough problem indeed – easy for humans, hard for AI. Sergey Brin back in 2004 said, “I don’t think that in the near future we’re going to have a service that takes a picture, and the computer decides, oh, that’s an elephant, so we search for an elephant. That seems funny to us. We should be able to do it.”
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