Google makes first UK tech start up acquisition

Google is taking its first steps in the UK market, having just splashed out for mobile visual search app Plink.

Schmidt and co have yet to reveal how much they have paid for Plink. The app, which has seen over 50,000 downloads in six weeks since its launch, can identify objects by working through a mobile’s camera and performing a search based on  its image. “It picks out repeatable elements from the image you take and comes out with a statistical representation of them,” said founder James Philbin.

The potential for its uses is huge and interesting. When you have recommendation data, says James, things like personalised tours in museums could be possible based on favourite paintings.

Google must feel strongly about the product. Previously to the acquisition, Google had not purchased any UK tech start up before, and the Plink founders can only bring good things to Google Goggles, the visual search effort.

Developers of the tech and PhD boffs Mark Cummins and James Philbin already won last year’s Android Develop Challenge with Plink and where they won $100,000 as a pat on the back.

We pointed Plink at our editor and it returned Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Son. Uh oh.