Carnegie Mellon University

The Piper

CMU Community News

Piper Logo
July 28, 2011

Google Acquires Another CMU Spinoff

Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition (PittPatt,, a CMU spinoff that develops reliable face recognition software for images and video, has been purchased by Google, Inc. PittPatt was founded after nearly 10 years of research in object recognition by Henry Schneiderman during his days as a student and faculty member at the Robotics Institute. Joining Schneiderman as co-founders of the company are fellow CMU Ph.D. graduates Michael Nechyba and Michael A. Sipe.

PittPatt is the second CMU spinoff acquired by Google in the last few years. ReCAPTCHA Inc., founded by Computer Science Professor Luis von Ahn, was acquired by Google in 2009.  ReCAPTCHA developed online puzzles that serve the dual purpose of protecting websites and digitizing printed text. In 2006, Google licensed the ESP Game, also developed by von Ahn, for use as the Google Image Labeler.  Another CMU-Google connection is Andrew Moore. Moore, director of Google’s Pittsburgh office, is a professor in CMU’s Robotics Institute. Google Pittsburgh made its headquarters in CMU’s Collaborative Innovation Center before moving to Bakery Square.

The acquisition of PittPatt comes two months after CMU launched its Greenlighting Startups Initiative (, aimed at accelerating the university’s already impressive record of turning campus innovations into sustainable new businesses.

One of the fastest growing entrepreneurial universities in the U.S., CMU has created more than 300 companies and 9,000 jobs in the region in the past 15 years, and since 2004, it has doubled the number of start-up companies created by its faculty and students.