Google buys British visual search start-up Plink

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US giant Google has moved to strengthen its visual search engine tool Google Goggles with the purchase of British start-up Plink for an undisclosed amount, Plink's founders announced on Monday.

Google Goggles and Plink both allow people to carry out web searches on artwork simply by taking a photo of a painting using a mobile telephone.

"The visual search engines of today can do some pretty cool things but they still have a long, long way to go," Plink's founders Mark Cummins and James Philbin said on their company's website.

"We're looking forward to helping the Goggles team build a visual search engine that works not just for paintings or book covers but for everything you see around you."