Understandably, this has seen the US social networking giant look to the United Kingdom for AI talent, including an acqui-hire of NLP startup Bloosbury AI in 2018, and most recently, acquiring Scape Technologies, a British company using computer vision to offer more accurate location positioning for augmented reality.
Filings with Companies House Jan. 24 revealed that Facebook directly or indirectly holds 75% or more of the shares in the company and that Scape board members Toby Coppel and George Henry de Frahan were out, replaced by Facebook's Dave Kling and Susan Jennifer Simone Taylor.
The price of the deal was not disclosed, but TechCrunch reported early Saturday that it could have been about $40 million.
Noteworthy is that EF and Fly Ventures have had a concerted exit to Facebook of types, when Bloomsbury AI had been acqui-hired from the social media behemoth (a narrative I broke). But, the augmented reality (AR) glasses may be the best fit.
Scope Technologies was founded in 2017 developing a "Visual Positioning Service" based on computer vision and allowed developers to build apps that required location accuracy beyond the capabilities of GPS.
Scape CEO and co-founder Edward Miller previously described the company's "Vision Engine" as a large-scale mapping pipeline that can create 3D maps from ordinary images and videos.
The technology does not rely on GPS, instead using what it calls a "Visual Positioning Service" to determine the precise location of visual services.
Meanwhile the purchase by Facebook, regardless of what form it takes, looks like a fantastic match given the US firm's investment in third generation platforms, such as VR and AR. It's also another - possibly, stressing - illustration of USA tech firms hoovering up United Kingdom machine learning and AI talent early.