Facebook just bought a furniture shopping startup

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Facebook just bought a  furniture shopping startup

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Facebook just bought a startup that uses AI to make it easier to buy furniture.
Facebook just bought a startup that uses AI to make it easier to buy furniture.

Image: Gian Ehrenzeller/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

2016%252f09%252f16%252f8f%252fhttpsd2mhye01h4nj2n.cloudfront.netmediazgkymde1lza3.c1888.jpg%252f90x90By Karissa Bell

Facebook has acquired GrokStyle, a shopping startup that uses AI to help you buy furniture and other items for the home.

The move, which was reported by Bloomberg, is the latest sign yet that the social network is looking to push deeper into e-commerce in 2019.

Facebook spokesperson Vanessa Chan confirmed the acquisition saying, “We are excited to welcome GrokStyle to Facebook. Their team and technology will contribute to our AI capabilities.”

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GrokStyle, which was founded in 2016 according to CrunchBase, is a San Francisco startup specializing in visual search. The company is known for technology that allows shoppers to search for furniture and other items by taking photos with their phones. Last year, the company partnered with Ikea on its augmented reality furniture app

In a note posted on its website, the company said it had “only scratched the surface of what is possible with computer vision.”

“Our team and technology will live on, and we will continue using our AI to build great visual search experiences for retail.”

It’s not clear exactly what team within Facebook GrokStyle and its “AI capabilities” will be a part of. But it’s another potential sign that Facebook plans to move deeper into shopping features. 

The company has been steadily adding shopping features to Instagram, but hasn’t said much about similar shopping experiences in other places.

Enabling visual, camera-based search would certainly make sense if the company was looking to make it easier for users to connect with retailers. The fact that GrokStyle has previously been part of an augmented reality app is particularly interesting, given that Facebook is building out its own AR platform, including shoppable augmented reality features in Messenger. 

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