APPLE HAS ACQUIRED machine learning (ML) startup Laserlike in a bid to make its Siri AI assistant less of a dunce.
The Information has the scoop and reports that Apple purchased the four-year-old Silicon Valley-based startup, which was founded by three former Google engineers, towards the end of 2018.
Cupertino churned out its usual statement, confirming: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans"
Laserlike had an app, which is no longer available in the App Store or Google Play, that used AI to offer users a personalised "interest search engine" that searches for content about the topics that the user cares about.
The startup's technology was also adopted by Mozilla last year for a 'Test Pilot' Firefox add-on that generated recommendations of sites to visit based on a user's browsing habits.
"Laserlike's core mission is to deliver high-quality information and diverse perspectives on any topic from the entire web," the now-defunct startup's mission statement reads. "We are passionate about helping people follow their interests and engage with new perspectives."
According to The Information's sources, Laserlike's team has joined Apple's newly-formed AI group headed by John Giannandrea, who was promoted to senior vice president in December after being hired from Google last year.
Now it's part of the Apple camp, Laserlike's tech will no doubt be used to enhance Siri, which has long struggled to match up to the likes of Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant. The AI could come baked into the firm's incoming TV and news subscription services, recommending users things to view and read based on their interests and current habits.
Apple has acquired a host of AI startups in recent months. Last year, the firm purchased privacy-focused AI outfit Silk Labs, and in February, the firm scooped up, er, Hello Barbie voice tech outfit PullString. µ
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