Tableau Acquisition Aims To Bring Natural Language Capabilities To Data Analysis

Business analytics application vendor Tableau Software has acquired ClearGraph, a startup developer of natural language query technology used in data discovery and analysis applications.

Tableau said it plans to integrate ClearGraph's technology into its software, making it easier for people to interact with information by using conversational-style search to ask questions about data.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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ClearGraph, based in Palo Alto, Calif., was founded in 2014. ClearGraph's employees, including founders Andrew Vigneault and Ryan Atallah, will join Seattle-based Tableau in that company's Palo Alto office and be charged with integrating ClearGraph's underlying technology with the Tableau system.

ClearGraph's software connects disparate data sources and makes them accessible and intelligible through conversational queries such as "sales of raincoats in Seattle in 2016." The technology stores semantic data that expands and "learns" over time to infer users' intent with natural language, according to a Tableau statement.

"Natural language queries will make it easier for more people to interact with Tableau," said Francois Ajenstat, Tableau's chief product officer, in a statement. "We're excited about this acquisition as the ClearGraph team shares our mission and is aligned with our innovation perspectives on conversational analytics."

The statement quoted Vigneault as saying Tableau's acquisition of ClearGraph was "a natural fit" because the two companies have similar missions, cultures and the goal of making it easier for people to interact with, and get insights from, their data.

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