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Nokia's Here Maps acquires an AI firm to build you a virtual travel agent

Andy Bowen, @An_dbowen
May 30, 2014
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Ever used Nokia's Here Maps on your Windows Phone? If so, you'll agree the platform has an impressively comprehensive vault of travel data to pull from. Today, the Finnish company hopes to make said data more personal by acquiring Desti, a travel-planning AI app based out of the same research center as Siri and Nuance.

So, what can Desti bring to the table? Since its software is based on natural language processing, it can peruse the metadata and customer reviews of online travel listings (hotels, hotspots, nearby attractions) based upon what you, the happy vacationer, are looking for. Want a more romantic rather than family-oriented getaway? No problem. Desti's AI can gather such context from your request and summarize its recommendations in a friendly dialogue.

Nokia hasn't outlined any real details on what future integration looks like, but Here VP of Search and Places Don Zereski did drop a small hint, saying the company wants to "create a new class of location services that implicitly understands who you are and what you're looking for, sometimes even before you ask." Sounds a little bit like Foursquare's check-in prompts and Google Now, doesn't it?

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