Google has acquired Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition, known as PittPatt, a company that develops technology for recognising faces in images and video.
Its founders began developing the technology at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute in the 1990s and formed PittPatt in 2004 as a spin-off from the university, the website says.
"At Google, computer vision technology is already at the core of many existing products (such as Image Search, YouTube, Picasa and Goggles), so it's a natural fit to join Google and bring the benefits of our research and technology to a wider audience," PittPatt said. "We will continue to tap the potential of computer vision in applications that range from simple photo organisation to complex video and mobile applications," the company said.
PittPatt's technology can do various types of facial recognition, including tracking faces in videos and sorting photos according to whose face appears in each photo, according to pages on its website that can still be found in Google's cache. It also makes a software development kit.
Terms were not disclosed and Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.