AI start-up Halli Labs becomes Google's first acquisition in India

Global internet giant Google has acquired Halli Labs, marking its first acquisition in India. Halli Labs is a four-month-old artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) start-up that aims to build solutions for the Indian masses.

"We are excited that the Halli Labs team is joining Google. They'll be joining our team that is focused on building products that are designed for the next billion users coming online, particularly in India," said a Google spokesperson in an emailed statement.

The value of the deal was not disclosed.

Halli Labs, which takes its name from Halli a village in Karnatake made its first announcement on Medium, an online publishing platform, on 22 May this year. According to founder Pankaj Gupta's LinkedIn account, the firm started in April this year, the very next month after he left the now-defunct local Airbnb rival Stayzilla.

Gupta holds a PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University.

"Welcome @Pankaj and the team at @halli_labs to Google. Looking forward to building some cool stuff together," said Caesar Sengupta, vice-president, product management, Google.

According to Hali Labs post, it was born with the vision of "applying modern ML techniques to old problems and domains", an indication that it wanted to help rural India get access to information on patchy internet.

Halli Labs wrote in its blog: ''Today, we are thrilled to share the news that the Halli Labs team is joining Google. As we wrote in our introductory blog post, Halli Labs was founded with the goal of applying modern AI and ML techniques to old problems and domains ?- ?in order to help technology enable people to do whatever it is that they want to do, easier and better. Well, what better place than Google to help us achieve this goal. We will be joining Google's Next Billion Users team to help get more technology and information into more people's hands around the world''