Apps

Google buys a start-up whose apps change your hair color in selfies

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O developer conference on May 17, 2017.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O developer conference on May 17, 2017.

Alphabet has acquired AIMatter, a start-up with Android and iOS apps that transform selfies using artificial intelligence. Terms weren’t disclosed.

AIMatter CEO Andrei Kulik and a Google spokesperson confirmed the deal to CNBC on Wednesday. The mobile apps will remain available, the Google spokesperson said. TechCrunch first reported the news.

AIMatter’s Fabby apps might not be the most popular apps out there — on Android the Fabby photo editor app had 100,000-500,000 installs — but the technology is nifty and distinct from recently trendy style transfer in the Prisma apps and the masks that are available in Facebook and Snap’s apps.

AI researchers the world over are regularly trying to advance the state of the art in image segmentation, which involves being able to accurately outline specific things in images and video frames. Alphabet is active in this area alongside Apple and Microsoft, among others.

Kulik previously worked at Google. The company was founded in 2016 and based in Belarus.

At the Google I/O conference in May, CEO Sundar Pichai announced Google Lens, a feature in the Google Assistant and Google Photos that recognizes things seen through a phone’s camera or in existing photos and then provide additional information.