Twitter Inc (TWTR) stock is wafting higher Monday morning amid the broader-market Brexit-sentiment rally, but the company also had a bit of news out — namely, it just acquired Magic Pony Technology, a machine-learning and visual processing company for an undisclosed sum. (TechCrunch speculates the deal cost Twitter $150 million.)
So what does this mean for TWTR? Here’s what Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had to say:
“Machine learning is increasingly at the core of everything we build at Twitter. Magic Pony’s machine learning technology will help us build strength into our deep learning teams with world-class talent, so Twitter can continue to be the best place to see what’s happening and why it matters, first. We value deep learning research to help make our world better, and we will keep doing our part to share our work and learnings with the community.”
That’s vague, but a dive into Magic Pony’s patents tells a clearer story.
Magic Pony holds a number of video-related patents, such as encoding and decoding, adaptive upscaling, accelerating machine optimization, image fidelity correction and motion compensation, among others. Now they’re Twitter’s patents.
Based in London, Magic Pony’s headquarters will act as the European center for TWTR efforts in machine learning, “(improving) the visual experiences that are delivered across (Twitter’s) apps.” The company’s engineers will join Twitter Cortex, working with other software engineers, data scientists and researcher scientists to improve user engagement with video content.
Cortex has two missions: classifying content in a relevant and highly searchable format and building an AI platform unlike any the world has seen before.
This isn’t Twitter’s first foray into machine learning, either. In 2014, the company bought Madbits, followed by the 2015 purchase of Whetlab.
With today’s acquisition, Twitter is making sure it has a beefed-up horse in the online video race against Facebook Inc (FB). And according to Suranga Chandratillake, Twitter also bought itself a “pretty substantial VR and AR strategy.”