eBay plans to acquire Corrigon, an Israeli developer of visual search technologies whose capabilities "identify objects within an image, matching both visual and textual elements to ensure that the image is recognized, correctly classified and best-matched to its corresponding product."
The deal, which reportedly will cost eBay less than $30 million, signals the web marketplace's third acquisition of the year in the structured data space, and will help eBay to present customers shopping its billion-plus live listings better product images on listings than individual sellers typically provide.
Upon completion of the deal, Corrigon will become part of eBay's Structured Data group, and will be based at the company's Israeli Development Center in Netanya.
eBay apparently is all-in on leveraging the latest technology in the structured data space, and is willing to aggressively spend on acquisitions to do — not that any of its three data startup acquisitions in the last few months cost it all that much money.
Before Corrigon, eBay bought both SalesPredict and ExpertMaker over the summer. Both of those small companies use machine learning technology: SalesPredict analyzes collected data to help predict customer behaviors, and ExpertMaker extracts data that can be applied to specific product listings to make them more informative and marketable.
Corrigon addresses important aspects of eBay's structured data initiative, particularly the functions of processing and enriching data collected by eBay, and then building product experiences around that data. Corrigon will contribute technology to help customers find product listings, and will present them with search images that give them the best possible look at a product they're interested in.
A lot of companies are now investing in visual search technology advancements, including (not surprisingly) Google. A lot of companies also are enabling the key technology, Slyce being one, while Corrigon is working to help visual search engines be as good as they can possibly be.
Visual search engines might seem like a cool innovation unto themselves, but data collection, processing and data-rich product listings lend them even more value. The structured data effort is a big part of eBay's comeback strategy, and it looks like the company is starting to fit its various data analytics and processing pieces together for a bigger payoff.