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Google gobbles up restaurant recommendation app Alfred

The Web giant picks up Clever Sense, maker of Alfred, a butler-like app that uses artificial intelligence to help customers find restaurants.

Among the crowded list of mobile applications, Google has added another to its portfolio, acquiring local recommendation app maker Clever Sense.

Alfred, an app from Clever Sense, which was just acquired by Google. Clever Sense

Clever Sense created released its butler-like app, named Alfred, for the iPhone in July. The app is designed to learn the kinds of restaurants that a specific customer likes, then recommend similar joints based on Web reviews and other analysis.

But it isn't just about matching a taste for Italian food with another pasta restaurant. Unlike better-known and more widely used rivals such as Yelp and Urbanspoon, Clever Sense uses artificial intelligence to find customers with similar tastes, then offers recommendations based on their dining choices.

It's the kind of service--one that relies on complex algorithms to arrive at relevant results--that is right up Google's alley.

"The Clever Sense team is at the forefront of developing a recommendation engine that connects the online and offline worlds by delivering personal and sophisticated information to users at the right time, the right place, and within the right context," Google said in a statement. "By combining their technology and expertise with our team and products, we'll be able to provide even more people with intelligent, personalized recommendations for places to eat, visit, and discover."

For Clever Sense, Google adds deep pockets and global reach.

"Together with the Google team, we will accelerate our efforts toward this shared vision. Google helps local businesses connect with potential customers, and its worldwide presence can bring the value of Clever Sense to a much larger audience," Clever Sense co-founder and CEO Babak Pahlavan wrote on the company's Web site.

The company launched an Android version of Alfred last week.