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ClearGraph founders Ryan Atallah and Andrew Vigneault at Tableau Software’s Palo Alto office. (Tableau Photo)

Tableau Software has acquired ClearGraph, a Palo Alto, Calif. startup that helps people find and discover data with voice searching and commands.

Tableau would not disclose terms of the acquisition, but the Seattle data visualization company did say it plans to integrate ClearGraph’s technology with its own to make it easier for people to interact with data via voice. ClearGraph’s five employees, including co-founders Ryan Atallah and Andrew Vigneault, will be absorbed into Tableau’s Palo Alto office.

“We are thrilled to bring the ClearGraph team to Tableau to enable people to ask questions of their data using
natural language,” Francois Ajenstat, chief product officer at Tableau, said in a statement. “Natural language queries will make it easier for more people to interact with Tableau, whether you’re an executive who needs an answer quickly, or on a mobile phone and want an answer from your data on the move.”

As tech giants battle each other in the competitive world of voice assistants, Tableau has been working to integrate voice technology into its data visualization software. Last year, at its annual Tableau Conference in Austin, the company unveiled a series of new products as part of a “roadmap” for its next few years, including the ability to search databases using conversational phrases such as “show me houses near Ballard, under $600k.”

ClearGraph was founded in 2014 by Atallah while at Stanford and Vigneault, who was an investment banker at the time, with a goal of organizing disparate sets of data and making them searchable by voice. When a user searches for a piece of data, ClearGraph can interpret what the person is looking for and store that information in knowledge graphs that learn and expand over time.

Here is an example of how the ClearGraph technology works, from the press release announcing the acquisition: “People could ask questions such as, ‘Total sales by customers who purchased staples in New York,’ then filter to, ‘orders in the last 30 days,’ then group by, ‘project owner’s department.’

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