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Alter, A Twitter-Backed AI Avatar Startup Is Bought By Google In $ 100 Million

Google Acquires Alter In $100 M Deal

Google Acquires Alter In $100 M Deal

Although Google is now seeing a decline in its ad revenue and is focusing more on hardware, it nevertheless seems willing to spend nine figures to acquire an AI-powered photography startup that specialises in creating avatars.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, that is what allegedly just occurred. TechCrunch is informed by that source that the company is called Alter and cost $100 million. Later on, Google did confirm the acquisition, but no further information was provided.

The transaction, which was completed “around two months ago,” is supposed to support the business’s efforts to compete with TikTok.  

Without specifically mentioning the acquisition, Jonathan Slimak, the former COO of Alter, revealed on LinkedIn in September that he would be starting in a new role at Google.

As a distributor of plug-and-play avatars for social and gaming platforms, Alter started out as Facemoji in the year 2020. Several companies contributed $3 million in seed money, including Twitter.

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Google Acquires AI Avatar Start-up Alter

It has been reported that the tech giant Google has acquired the artificial intelligence (AI) avatar start-up Alter for approximately $100 million in an effort to boost its own content offerings and better compete against the platform that currently dominates the market for short-form videos, TikTok.

According to a story that was published by TechCrunch on Thursday, citing an unnamed source familiar with the topic, the takeover was finished approximately two months ago; however, neither of the companies decided to officially announce it.

On the other hand, Google confirmed the acquisition a week ago, but the company chose not to comment on the specific financial parameters of the agreement. Most recently, Jonathan Slimak, Chief Co-Founder and Operating Officer at Alter, changed his LinkedIn page in order to confirm the new development.

Without mentioning that he had been acquired by Google, he announced his new job by adding the comment “creating Avatars at Google” to his LinkedIn profile. This was done without mentioning that Google had recently acquired LinkedIn.

For those who are unaware, Alter, which was originally known as Facemoji, is a startup that was established in 2017 and is situated in New York City. It provided producers of games and apps with plug-and-play technology to assist them in the addition of avatars to their games and apps.

After receiving early funding totaling $3 million from investors including Play Ventures, Roosh Ventures, and Twitter, the company Facemoji eventually decided to rebrand itself as Alter. Facemoji is now known as Alter.

“Alter is a software development kit (SDK) that is open source and cross-platform. It consists of a real-time 3D avatar system and motion capture that was created from the ground up for web3 interoperability and the open metaverse.”

According to the information provided on the LinkedIn page for the company, “developers can effortlessly pipe avatars into their app, game, or website when using Alter.” At the time of the acquisition, Alter was focusing on leveraging artificial intelligence to build avatars that would assist content creators, social media users, and brands express their virtual identities.

The search giant revealed in June of this past year that YouTube Shorts, Google’s format for short-form videos that are hosted on YouTube, is already a success for the company. More than 1.5 billion users who are logged in each month watch content on the platform.

Through the purchase of Alter, Google may be working to prepare YouTube Shorts for avatars, which are anticipated to play a significant role in the future.

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Google Latest Update

In order to prioritise users, Google has consistently worked to enhance its search ranking algorithm. To keep the algorithm current with the newest search trends, it is modified hundreds of times a year.

In the previous five years, the search engine claims that there have been a 40% reduction in the amount of irrelevant and inaccurate results that appear on the first page of search results. Quite a few of these modifications go almost unnoticed.

The realm of SEO is affected significantly by a number of factors, though. In order for their website to rank highly in the search engine, webmasters must take into account the most recent changes to the Google algorithm and make the appropriate updates to their website.

Google’s Link Spam Update

Google issued a warning to businesses in July 2021 that the Link Spam Update will have a substantial impact on their search rankings. The feature was supposed to be finished in two weeks, but it took longer.

Google officially announced the Link Spam upgrade by sharing the news on Twitter in August 2021. The team first added a brief note stating that website owners using sponsored links, guest articles, and other commercial links must qualify these links.

Those that monetize their websites and blogs must do that in particular. People who evaluate the links’ quality and conduct in-depth searches on the URLs before using them would appreciate these enhancements.

Even though Google was quite stringent about spamming links, there were still websites with spammy links that were highly ranked in the search results, so this update was urgently required.

The Introduction Of MUM

The launch of MUM was the most significant algorithm modification we observed in 2021. Its name refers to a concept known as the Multitask Unified Model, which makes use of artificial intelligence to help humans carry out difficult activities as effectively as possible.

MUM was viewed as being a thousand times more potent than BERT. This is because the programme can read data from both text and images. Recently, Google made the announcement that it intends to improve the functionality of this AI-powered tool so that it may support audio and video formats as well.

When typing vaccine-related quotes into the Google search field, you must already be familiar with the MUM example. Without a doubt, the programme is able to handle any vaccine-related query. You are also shown fresh approaches to learning about many subjects.

Making the Google algorithm as resilient as feasible is the MUM’s primary goal. Now, these algorithms are smarter and more effective in determining the content’s quality and relevancy. Website optimization is not required for the Multitask Unified Model.

In order to provide material that adheres to the algorithm’s standards, every website owner should be familiar with and knowledgeable about this technology. Google hasn’t provided any information on this technology, but based on what we can see, it’s HUGE.

A collection of technologies known as the Multitask Unified Model is employed in order to address complex and challenging questions that cannot be resolved with those 10 links. A snippet or one of the ten blue links that appear on the search results page.

While this data might be sufficient to respond to brief and simple inquiries, a more reliable system is required for lengthy and complex ones. With MUM, Google hopes to address this. Basically, Google is expected to answer these challenging questions by combining texts and visuals.

The tool already understands more than 75 languages, and additional expansion is anticipated. The ultimate goal is to make audience members’ search requests simple and efficient.

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  • I'm a 4th Year student of Architecture Undergraduate programme at Priyadarshini Institute of Architecture And Design Studies, Nagpur. During my studies, I have worked on multiple projects and these assignments have helped me to become a great team player and how to function well in fast paced and deadline driven environments. Some of interests are Sketching, listening and exploring old music, watching documentaries and being an architectural student I like to explore the conceptual angle of every element.

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