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AI/Automation

Google Buys API.AI to Build More Human-Friendly Interfaces

Google revealed Monday afternoon that it is buying startup API.AI for its conversational user interface platform, which is already being used by more than 60,000 developers.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based API.AI was founded in 2014. The company has reportedly raised $8.6 million in venture funding.

"Over 60,000 developers are using API.AI to build conversational experiences, for environments such as Slack, Facebook Messenger and Kik, to name just a few," said Google's Scott Huffman, VP of engineering, in a blog about the buy-out.

So what is a conversational user interface? It is a natural language interface that is supposed to better understand the context of what a human user is asking, rather than just searching for the separate words in a question.

Google has been big on building out more intelligent and usable interfaces this year. The acquisition appears to be another step in that process. (See Google Minds Machine Learning.)

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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