Google buys British artificial intelligence firm

Google is buying London-based artificial intelligence company DeepMind Technologies, according to reports.

Technology news website Re/code, which first reported the deal, said the price was $400 million (£242m), which would make it Google’s largest European acquisition so far. Other reports suggest the acquisition price was closer to $500 million.

Google declined to confirm the figure, while privately-held DeepMind was not immediately available for comment, reports The Telegraph.

DeepMind was founded by 37-year-old neuroscientist and former teenage chess prodigy Demis Hassabis, along with Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman.

The company uses general-purpose learning algorithms for applications such as simulations, e-commerce and games, according to its website.

Major venture capitalist firms Horizons Ventures and Founders Fund are invested in the company. Skype and Kazaa developer Jaan Tallinn was also an early investor and an advisor to the company.

Google, which is working on projects including self-driving cars and robots, has become increasingly focused on artificial intelligence in recent years.

In 2012, the internet giant hired Ray Kurzweil, considered one of the leading minds in the field, and in May it announced a partnership with NASA and several universities to launch the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab.