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Twitter Buys Artificial Intelligence Startup Whetlab

This is Twitter's second AI-related acquisition.

Anthony Quintano for Re/code

Twitter has acquired Whetlab, a five-person artificial intelligence startup made up of current and aspiring PhDs. Whetlab announced the news today on its website, and Twitter confirmed the acquisition in a tweet this morning.

There are numerous tech companies getting into artificial intelligence right now, a field of science that focuses on making smarter computers and algorithms. Twitter has already made some strides here, buying image-search startup Madbits a year ago. Facebook and Google are also using AI technology and building out related teams.

In Twitter’s case, AI will likely continue to creep into the product in a number of ways. Most important for Twitter right now is probably relevancy, or the company’s ability to show users the kinds of tweets and content they actually want to see. This is important for helping to bring in new users — Twitter has a new instant timeline intended to show new users things they want to see as soon as they sign up — and it could also help increase retention of the people already using the service.

The Whetlab team will work out of Twitter’s Cambridge, Mass., office. Twitter also acquired the technology from Whetlab, which helps automate and thus speed up machine-learning experiments. The company’s private beta will shut down next month.

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