eBay announced today that it has acquired ExpertMaker in a bid to bring more artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analysis into its online marketplace platform. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
This isn’t a chance encounter between the two companies, as ExpertMaker has worked with eBay for the past six years. When the deal closes sometime in the second quarter, ExpertMaker’s employees will become a part of the structured data product and technology team at the San Jose-based commerce company. eBay is also picking up the AI technology, and any arrangements ExpertMaker has with its existing customers will “conclude near the close of the deal,” we’re told.
Founded by Lars Hard, ExpertMaker specializes in using artificial intelligence to develop search tools for developers. It made its debut in 2010 at the fall edition of the DEMO conference. The company licenses its technology to other firms that are looking to build subject-specific search engines. Hard once wrote, “Our context and behaviors will be measured on lowest possible wireless network protocol levels, or tracked directly on-device. Everything will be captured and analyzed in near real-time, and advanced services will automatically predict and optimize much of our information from live streams of data. Search will mostly become machine-to-machine interaction, distributed among a huge number of highly specialized AI-services.”
It’s likely this thinking is what resulted in eBay purchasing ExpertMaker. In a statement announcing the deal, the online marketplace company spelled out three efforts behind its structured data initiatives: collecting data, processing and enriching that data, and creating product experiences. With ExpertMaker’s team and technology integrated, eBay may pursue improved search and recommendation algorithms on its mobile apps to make what you see more targeted and relevant, as well as improving the overall customer experience.
“eBay’s structured data effort is a multi-year journey, and we believe the innovation and significant expertise that Expertmaker brings to eBay will help us build a best-in-class product catalog and in turn better serve our customers,” said Amit Menipaz, vice president and general manager for the structured data team at eBay.