Algolia Acquires Machine Learning Startup MorphL to Boost Search Engine AI

Search technology developer Algolia has acquired Romanian machine learning startup MorphL for an undisclosed sum to augment its new artificial intelligence capabilities. The acquisition will bring MorphL’s customer behavior prediction models to Algolia and its search tech platform.

Learning to Search

Algolia’s search technology is used by a broad range of websites and e-commerce companies, with the aim of making search better and more accessible on any channel. It uses an API-first system to simplify how clients can onboard the technology and access Algolia’s models, tuning how it works over time. AI is a central part of Algolia’s plans, and the company has been steadily building its capabilities in that realm, helped by a $110 million funding round in late 2019.

MorphL was founded in 2018 and has gathered a reputation for designing AI models that can predict how customers will act when shopping online. MorphL’s clients can leverage those models to personalize recommendations for customers and better show them what they might like to buy. Algolia’s platform already includes natural language understanding and other AI-powered features. Incorporating MorphL’s behavior models promises to enhance those elements, personalizing search results and making them more useful with less effort.

“Many companies are trying to make it easier to use AI, but few are making it as simple as MorphL,” CEO Ciprian Borodescu said in a statement. “Indeed, our mission has always been to democratize AI and to empower developers and marketers, who wish to enhance their digital offerings with a simple ‘plug and play’ building block interface for building their intent-based, omnichannel sites and applications.”

Vocal Search

Voice continues to grow as a way of searching for information and products, something Algolia is well aware of, citing a 71% preference for voice search over using keyboards in its product description. Acquiring MorphL fits right in with Algolia’s voice and conversational search plans. Algolia’s APIs will be better at predicting customer behavior and personalizing experiences, learning how to best target product offers and other news to those who would be most interested.

“[W]e’ve really integrated voice and conversational into driving our product decisions over the past year. You can see this in the Morphl news: it’s an awareness that search is getting so complex that the algorithms of old aren’t enough,” Algolia product and GTM manager Dustin Coates told Voicebot in an email. “We see voice interactions where people are asking full questions, expecting personalized results, and—most importantly—needing that first result to be exactly the right one. That’s why we brought Morphl and their team on board, that’s why we have Algolia Answers, which gives all companies the “Google featured snippet” experience, and it’s why we’ve launched our synonym suggestions, personalization, and dynamic reranking products.”


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