Google has acquired Jetpac, an image-recognition app that analyzes public Instagram data to compile information to help travelers locate both quirky and practical places to visit during trips.
For those of you who took the clickbait thinking that this story was about personal jet-powered flying transportation devices, we are aptly contrite.
The app offers some of this information by grouping it into themes, such as bars frequented by women or where to stalk the dreaded hipster. It does so partly by creating top 10 lists of locations according to something called a Snappyness Rating. Its functionality comes from digital crawling over Instagram photos for specific details that can be used to build a travel database, which includes very unique visual markers, according to the company.
"We can spot lipstick, blue sky views, hipster moustaches and more, through advanced image processing on billions of photos," according to Jetpac's website.
Jetpac City Guide, as the app is entitled, currently provides a visual guide to over 6,000 cities worldwide. It provides more esoteric and lifestyle-based information on locations than is offered by Yelp or other search apps, and is more visual- than text-based.
Users can also search for locations by applying terms pertinent to their own interests, by hobby, profession, age, music, ambiance, food preferences and other categories.
The San Francisco-based company launched in 2011, its app began life in 2012 as an iPad app that was primarily a social travel guide. It was then made available for the iPhone, at which time it became Instagram-centric.
A visit to the Jetpac website finds a top-dead-center, enthusiastic announcement about Google taking over, including notice that the Jetpac app will be removed from the App Store within days as it is absorbed through osmosis by Google. Jetpac will also end tech support for the app on Sept. 15. Jetpac employees, especially its founding team, will join Google's Knowledge Team, a part of Google that develops more efficiencies, speed and features into Google Search.
Google has not made any announcements yet about the acquisition, and as such, no deal-specific details are available. A good place to start is that it is likely that Google intends to blend Jetpac features into Google Maps, Google Now, Google + and Google Local. The app could ostensibly become part of Google Glass technology.
Jetpac's image-recognition algorithms could also become a valuable technology for offering targeted advertising within Google apps.