Alexia Tsotsis of TechCrunch reports, “Lots of Google executives are at the Re/Code Code conference in Rancho Palos Verdes this week. But at least one of them won’t be a Google executive for very much longer. Wavii founder Adrian Aoun is leaving the search company, a little more than a year after the $30 million acquisition of his content aggregation startup, in order to start a second company. It is unclear whether he left money on the table.” Read more
Posts Tagged ‘Wavii’
Google, in the midst of its I/O conference (see our story here), also has teamed up with NASA to form the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab at the agency’s Ames Research Center.
According to a post on Google’s Research Blog, the lab will house a D-Wave Systems quantum computer. The goal is to study how quantum computing can solve some of the most challenging computer science problems, with a focus on advancing machine learning. Machine learning, as Director of Engineering Hartmut Neven writes, “is all about building better models of the world to make more accurate predictions,” but it’s hard work to build a really good model. Real-world applications that he discusses include building a more useful search engine by better understanding spoken questions and what’s on the web to provide the best answer.
Google has scooped up news aggregation summary service Wavii for $30 million, according to Reuters. (Google and Wavii haven’t officially commented yet.) Wavii’s service has been influenced by expert machine learning natural language processing work, as explained by founder and CEO Adrian Aoun in our interview here. In February, a blog on the site also explained its use of classification for NLP tasks like disambiguating entities, automatically learning new entities and relationship extraction. Late last year Wavii announced its iPhone app.
Reports have it that Google and Apple were in a bidding war over acquiring the venture, which has been likened to Yahoo’s Summly buyout in March (see story here). TechCrunch says the Wavii team will join Google’s Knowledge Graph division.
When it comes to delivering personalized intelligence about what’s up in the world, Wavii aims to better understand users and what they’ll want to see in their feeds not just via explicit topic follows, but also via various signals. These include which other topics are involved in the events they comment on, how often they click into events about each topic, what topics they search for and what topic pages they visit. It also includes other attributes of stories they care about besides the topics, and their interest level in a topic to guess what the interest might be in related topics.
Wavii made waves when it launched its automated, algorithm-driven news aggregation service in April, which has been billed as making Facebook out of Google. But what makes Wavii work? When The Semantic Web Blog found a picture in Wavii.com’s Flickr photostream featuring the word “predicates” on a white board, it was time to discover whether Semantic Web standards had anything to do with its engine.
Turns out, RDF is not at play here. But natural language processing certainly factors in, albeit from the perspective of information extraction and being almost entirely machine-learning based rather than deep-parsing oriented. The service’s technology is influenced by the expert machine-reading NLP work being done at the University of Washington, where Wavii advisor Oren Etzioni is a professor of computer science.
But Wavii CEO and founder Adrian Aoun can credit growing up in a household where his father was a linguist — a student of Noam Chomsky – for originally sparking his interest in how language works. Whenever his dad would have a debate about a language construct with his fellow MIT buddies, he says, “they’d turn to me and say which one sounds better….The irony is that they’re arguing over the rules, but they acknowledge the right answer is whatever humans do.”