Sunday 20 August 2017

Irish entrepreneur sells phone art venture to work for giant Google

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A TECHNOLOGY company co-founded by a young Irish graduate has been snapped up by internet giant Google as it continues to expand its repertoire of services for consumers.

UK-based Plink, which was established last summer by 26-year-old Dubliner Mark Cummins and James Philbin (27), caught Google's eye last year when the California company awarded it a $100,000 prize for creating an application for its smartphone system, Android.

"We certainly didn't start the company expecting to exit barely a year. We learned a lot doing the start-up, and as a entrepreneur there is always a little part of you that regrets giving up the reins of a growing company, but at heart we are engineers, and the opportunity to work on great problems at Google-scale was just too exciting to pass up," Mr Cummins said last night.

He and Mr Philbin developed an application called PlinkArt, which enables phone users to snap a photo of a painting, which the system then identifies.

The details of the painting are then sent to the phone user. The application was downloaded by 50,000 users within four weeks.

Mr Cummins and Mr Philbin will now work on further development of 'Google Goggles', an application that also tries to identify images.

"The app will continue to be available, but all our new development work will be on 'Google Goggles' and Google's other visual search products. Effectively, we'll become engineers on the Google visual search team," said. Mr Cummins, who would not disclose the sale price for Plink.

Mr Cummins who is orginally from from Donnybrook, Dublin 4, attended Blackrock College and went on to take a PhD at Oxford.

James Philbin is from London and also attended Oxford.

Irish Independent

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