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Cheesecake Factory cake (Photo : Reuters)

Google is developing a new calorie counting app based on Instagram images.  The search engine giant's artificial intelligence (AI) researchers are working on a new Google app that tracks food intake by analyzing food photos.  The tech giant has filed a patent application for the AI tech.

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Google unveiled the new project, Im2Calories, last week. It was at Boston's Rework Deep Learning Summit.

The experiment combines "visual analysis" (images' pixel depths) with pattern recognition, according to Popular Science. However, the AI tech can also work on lower-quality photos, including Instagram  pics.

Kevin Murphy, Google research scientist, said that the app algorithms will become more precise as time passes. It could benefit dieters and physicians.

Im2Calories would benefit calorie-counting consumers who are concerned about portion control. Doctors and medical researchers could also use aggregate data from the calorie app for research.

Murphy said that the app would be "really useful" for dieters. The calorie counting app and Instagram photos could also be used for population statistics.

Google's Im2Calories is not the first tech company to develop a calorie counter app. Similar digital tools have appeared through crowdfunding.

For example, SmartPlate's app, which includes scales and sensors to calculate calorie intake, appeared on Kickstarter in May, according to Mashable. Also, Vessyl's "smart cup"  keeps track of beverages' calories.

However, Im2Calories is unique in that it requires no extra hardware in order to track calories. This could make the new software simpler to use, and more accessible.  

Murphy shared that Google has already submitted patent applications for the calorie counting app. So Im2Calories could show up in various Google products in the future.