Google gains team behind Behavio

Google has added a few more employees to its roster. The new hires come from the team behind Behavio, a company works on recording and analyzing the data that smartphones are capable of keeping track of: location, speed, nearby devices and networks, phone activity, noise levels, and much more. The idea is that the software can keep track of all of this data and be able to watch for any deviant behavior — and make educated guesses based on what’s going on. To do all of this, Behavio created Funf, an open source framework that allows developers to leverage this data on Android.
The team is made up of three MIT Media Lab alums, and last year the project won a $355,000 Knight News Challenge grant. As reported by Nieman Journalism Lab, which profiled Behavio last year, some of the early work done at MIT in this field used data recorded by smartphones — like physical movement, texting activity, and more — to predict when someone was becoming sick before they noticed any symptoms. There is little information available about the company joining Google, but Behavio says that it will be shutting down its private alpha in light of the news — though it will continue maintaining Funf. The team says that it will be working with Google to develop improvements centered on the belief "that our digital experiences should be better connected with the way we experience the world."