Google, through its division in Germany, has made an investment acquiring a share of the German research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), a nonprofit supported by scientists and academics who work on language technology, augmented reality, knowledge management, and multimedia analysis.
While a Google spokesperson declined to disclose the value of the company's stake, the deal does give Google a seat on DFKI's board. The agreement begins a movement to cooperate more with German and European research communities that aims to strengthen Google's portfolio of products.
The investment is similar in size of monetary value to that taken by other private shareholders such as Deutsche Telekom, Intel, Microsoft, John Deere, and SAP.
Google has already made investments in deep learning, artificial intelligence, and robotics. In 2014, Google paid $500 million to acquire DeepMind in the United Kingdom.
In the past week, Apple acquired Perceptio, which specialized in AI image-classification systems. It also bought VocalIQ, which focuses on natural language processing.
Andy Rubin, creator of the Android mobile operating system, says mobile won't diminish in importance, but other technology will emerge to make the devices smarter through artificial intelligence and robotics.
For Google, DFKI isn't a completely new relationship. Researchers at DFKI have received an international research prize from Google nine times since 2005. The two also have a personnel transfer program with more than 30 former staff members and students from DFKI working at the Google offices in Munich, Zurich, and Mountain View.
DFKI has also attracted several Google researchers from the U.S. The most recent addition to the staff is Dr. Georg Heigold, a pioneer of deep learning, a renaissance of machine learning based on multilayer neural networks.