Another Failed Consumer Travel Startup, Jetpac, Acquired By Google

Aug 16, 2014 11:30 am

Skift Take

None of Jetpac’s pivots caught on with consumers, but the technology that helped it discover and sort photos will find a good home at Google.

— Jason Clampet

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Jetpac's last incarnation was as an Instagram-driven city guide. Skift

Google Inc. is buying Jetpac Inc., a software developer for analyzing digital pictures, as it seeks to organize the world’s information and deliver it alongside advertisements on desktops and mobile phones.

The San Francisco-based startup uses information gleaned from social-media photos, such as Facebook Inc.’s Instagram service, to create city guides. By analyzing pictures of food, decor and people, Jetpac’s software offers insight into city locales. Terms of the acquisition, disclosed on Jetpac’s website, weren’t disclosed.

Google has been highly acquisitive. Earlier this month, it said it was acquiring smartphone-messaging application Emu and video-creation service Directr Inc., bolstering its mobile and advertising capabilities. The company more than tripled spending on deals in the first half of the year to $4.2 billion, according to a filing last month. Tim Drinan, a spokesman for Mountain View, California-based Google, declined to comment.

JetPac was founded by Pete Warden and Julian Green, with Green now chief executive officer and Warden chief technology officer. It has raised $2.4 million from venture capital firms, including Khosla Ventures.

As more people upload photos and video to the Web, demand has increased for services that can parse through images without written cues. Facebook earlier this year invested in an artificial intelligence lab partially to improve its understanding of image and video content.

Jetpac’s three applications for smartphones, including a city guide, a photo analyzer and picture detection tool, will no longer be offered as downloads and support for them will end on Sept. 15, Jetpac said on its website.

Google has been building up its local offerings and maps offerings. Last year, Google bought mapping startup Waze Inc., paying about $1.1 billion.


To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Frier in San Francisco at sfrier1@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net.

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