Facebook Inc. said it acquired visual shopping and artificial intelligence startup GrokStyle Inc. in a move to bolster the social-media company’s own AI work.
GrokStyle’s technology, which was integrated into Ikea’s mobile app, was simple in practice. A user takes a picture of a piece of furniture and the technology would match it to similar products that could be purchased online. On its website , GrokStyle said it is "winding down" its business, but that it is "moving on as a team" along with its technology. The company didn’t disclose it’s joining Facebook.
The company declined a request for comment about specifically how many employees had been or continue to be shifted to this new team, but Facebook spokesperson Tera Randall told Business Insider that it was in the ballpark of “a few hundred people” and that the company planned to expand both teams this year.
“We are excited to welcome GrokStyle to Facebook," Facebook spokeswoman Vanessa Chan said in a statement. "Their team and technology will contribute to our AI capabilities.” She declined to disclose a purchase price.
Facebook could use the underlying AI technology and GrokStyle’s employees to bolster its own efforts in the field. The startup’s specific technology also makes sense for Facebook Marketplace, the company’s service for buying and selling items from other Facebook users on its social network.
The VFX-1. We can’t do a list about the history of Virtual Reality and not include the VFX-1. Released in the middle of the 1990s, the VFX-1 system was one of the most capable virtual reality headsets released on the market at the time. With stereoscopic 3D, multi-axis head movement detection and rotation, and the ability to play games that were not truly supported by the system, the VFX-1 was the true Virtual Reality deal at the time. Furthermore, their price tag was relatively cheap compared to other products on the market, coming at a mere $600. However, the VFX-1 was too advanced of a technology and it didn’t really take off. Later on, the company Vuzix that made the glasses was bought by Forte Technologies, which released a more expensive VFX 3D version, but it also didn’t manage to achieve huge success.
The GrokStyle purchase marks the second reported acquisition by Facebook this year. Earlier this month, the company bought the team behind blockchain technology company Chainspace for an undisclosed sum. The company purchased at least four firms last year, including startups focused on messaging and AI.