Are the bad times ending for Twitter? Recently, Twitter, battling plunging stock prices, announced the acquisition of Magic Pony Technology for a whopping $150 million. (And yes, Magic Pony is the real name of the company.)
Magic Pony, a London-based company, develops image enhancement software based on neural networks and machine learning. Neural networks are artificial constructions inspired by the real neural networks in the human brain. Neural networks, with the assistance of machine learning, can process complex sets of information with external input.
Magic Pony uses neural networks to make web-based software, desktop programs, and mobile apps to understand and sort images better. Basically, Magic Pony tech can do things like improve low-res images taken on a smartphone, and create lifelike graphics for virtual reality programs. The company already has 20 international patents, and claims to present papers at high-level conferences.
Twitter is reportedly thrilled by the machine learning capabilities of Magic Pony. Twitter has been on a shopping spree to acquire companies developing machine learning-based programs. Twitter has acquired two such companies, Whetlab and Madbits, within a span of two years. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in a statement that Magic Pony Tech will help the company strengthen its deep learning capabilities.
From a development perspective, it makes sense for Twitter to purchase a company that essentially makes image processing much better. A huge number of Twitter users share images and videos on the social media platform. More often than not, these images and videos are shot on mobile devices, which do not produce high-quality images. Twitter can certainly attract new users and retain the old ones by offering advanced image and video features on its platform.
Industry observers noted that Twitter is going all the way to acquire startups that work on making video better. Perhaps the company has big hopes for video in the future.
Magic Pony Tech, despite the somewhat silly name, has impressed investors with what they do. Magic Pony software can not only improve image quality, it can, in fact, select information from similar pictures to recreate an image. The human visual processing system works in a similar way. People can mentally fill in the blanks of images that they see only partially. Magic Pony’s app can imitate some functionality of the human occipital lobe. This kind of technology certainly has high hopes in the future.
The Magic Pony employees are reported to be working with Twitter’s Cortex, the team the company has dedicated to advancing its machine learning investments. Twitter has big ambitions for improving the social media platform’s viewing experience by investing in state-of-the art tech.
Twitter’s ambitions are quite in contrast to its current projected future. The company’s stock prices have been falling the past quarter, and hit historic lows this year. Twitter has also undergone several hirings, firings, and re-hirings at executive level. The social media giant has also faced serious allegations of mismanagement. Adding to the company’s internal problems is Instagram, which is rising in popularity among users and is luring advertisers away from Twitter. Wall Street insiders have speculated that Twitter, like Magic Pony, will be up for sale soon.