Google acquires Belarusian AI startup

17 August 2017

Google parent company Alphabet has acquired AIMatter, a Belarusian startup that transforms selfies using artificial intelligence on Android and iOS apps. AIMatter CEO Andrei Kulik, formerly of Google, confirmed the deal yesterday, along with a Google spokesperson.

AIMatter was founded in 2016, and is known for its Fabby app, which allows users to edit selfies, similar to the mask function on Snapchat. Google's acquisition of the Minsk-based AI startup reveals a strategic move to be a serious player in the next generation of social applications, where photo filtering and computer vision (the branch of AI that lets computers see and process images like humans) are predicted to play an integral role.

With developers in Minsk, the San Francisco Bay Area and Zurich, it remains unclear as to whether the staff will be relocated following the merger. However, Google's recent purchase acknowledges the rise of innovative technology coming out of eastern Europe, further reinforcing its place as a global frontrunner for tech.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, it was announced that Google added the Georgian language to its voice recognition system as well as installing a Georgian keyboard. For Georgians, the addition is a welcome development from having to use English and Russian, while for Google, the announcement reveals its seemingly endless global reach, as its digital tentacles seep further into the territory of the New East.