Google acquires visual-search provider Plink

Plink, which went public four months ago, caught the attention of Google with Android app PlinkArt. Team is expected to turn attention to Google Goggles.

Google has added another company to its shopping cart--this time it's U.K.-based Plink, a visual-search provider.

In a blog post Monday, Plink co-founders Mark Cummins and James Philbin announced the deal as "exciting news," especially for a company that only went public four months ago.

Plink apparently caught Google's eye by developing an Android app called PlinkArt, which lets you photograph and upload a snapshot of a painting that Plink then identifies to provide details about the artwork and its artist. You can then share that artwork with other people via your smartphone. PlinkArt seemed to hit it big with Android users, with Plink claiming more than 50,000 downloads of the app in just four weeks.

Though Plink's co-founders stressed that PlinkArt will still be available, they won't be updating it further and will instead switch gears to focus on Google Googles, an Android app from Google that also attempts to identify images. With Google Goggles available but still undergoing development, Google is hoping to employ the talents of Cummins and Philbin to add new features and functionality.

"The visual search engines of today can do some pretty cool things, but they still have a long long way to go," they wrote in the blog. "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."

Details of the acquisition, including the purchase price, were not released.

Google's Plink purchase is just the latest in the company's growing shopping spree. Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt told Reuters in September that Google expects to buy one company a month as it tries to kick business into high gear following the economic downturn. In the meantime, the Federal Trade Commission is reportedly close to deciding whether to challenge Google's deal to buy AdMob.

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