Apple acquires AI startup that makes video more searchable

Siri (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple has acquired Vilynx Inc.
  • The company built technology that enabled better understanding of video content.
  • Use cases for Apple could include better search in Photos, as well as Siri improvements.

Reported by Bloomberg, Apple has acquired Vilynx Inc., a startup specializing in artificial intelligence and computer vision technology that enables video to become searchable.

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant acquired Barcelona-based Vilynx Inc. earlier this year, according to people familiar with the deal. Vilynx developed technology that uses AI to analyze a video's visual, audio and text content to understand what the video shows. It used that technology to create tags for the video, making it searchable.

According to the report, Apple acquired the company for around $50 million. Apple released its usual non-specific statement when asked for comment.

"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," the company said in a statement.

The company had used its technology to help search and recommendation engines better understand video. Bloomberg speculates that Apple could use the technology to make users' photos and videos more searchable, as well as boost the abilities of Siri. About fifty employees from Vilynx are remaining to work at Apple, and the company is turning its office into a major research and development center for artificial intelligence.

About 50 of the company's engineers and data scientists are remaining at Apple, including Vilynx's co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Elisenda Bou-Balust, the people familiar said. Apple is keeping Vilynx's Barcelona office and intends to make it one of the company's main artificial intelligence research and development centers in Europe, the people said. Apple has started hiring engineers for the office. Apple also has AI engineers in Europe in Cambridge, U.K.; Cork, Ireland; Munich and Zurich.

Apple has acquired a number of AI startups recently, especially after the company hired former Google executive John Giannandrea, who had run Google's search and artificial intelligence efforts.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.