Google Relaunches Mobile Learning App Socratic Following Last Year’s Acquisition

By Amit Chowdhry ● August 16, 2019
  • Google has relaunched a mobile learning app called Socratic, which it acquired in March 2018

This week, Google has announced the relaunch of mobile learning app Socratic. Google had originally acquired Socratic in March 2018. Founded by Christopher Pedregal and Shreyans Bhansali.

Socratic was actually Pedregal’s second company acquired by Google. Pedregal worked at Apture as a co-founder from 2006 and 2008, which ended up getting acquired by Google in 2011. And Bhansali was the first employee at mobile payments company Venmo who played a major role in designing and building the company’s server-side systems, including payments, fraud, API, and social integrations.

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When Socratic originally started out, it was built with a Q&A format where students could ask questions and have them answered by experts. When the company raised $6 million in 2015, the community on the app grew to around 500,000 students, according to TechCrunch.

In February of last year, Socratic removed the social features within the app. And several months later, the shutdown the Q&A website to user contributions in order to focus more on the mobile app. And now that Socratic is owned by Google, the search company is able to utilize artificial intelligence to help students with their homework.

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“Students can take a photo of a question or use their voice to ask a question, and we’ll find the most relevant resources from across the web.  If they’re struggling to understand textbook content or handouts, they can take a picture of the page and check out alternative explanations of the same concepts,” wrote Bhansali in a blog post. “To help students working on complex problems, we’ve built and trained algorithms that look at a student’s question and automatically identify the relevant underlying concepts. From there, we can find the videos, concept explanations, and online resources to help them work through their questions. For students who want to learn even more, we break down the concepts into smaller, easy-to-understand lessons.”

The app has subject guides on more than 1,000 higher education and high school topics, which are developed with help from educators And the study guides can help students prepare for tests or just better learn a particular concept.

The new AI-powered version of Socratic by Google launched on iOS this week. And an Android version will be coming this fall.

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