Saturday, July 21, 2007

Your face, next search item!

Usually tools of security, face and image recognition technologies are making their way into other, more entertaining, fields. One of these services, kaocheki, (Trnaslated via Google beta)lets people send a digital photo of themselves or their friends from cell phone to find out which celebrity they like. Of course the picture is no problem with todays high res camera phones.
Using a face recognition engine developed by Oki Electric Industry Co., kaocheki is free of charge and simple to use. Within a few seconds, a photo sent to male@kaocheki.jp (for men) or female@kaocheki.jp (for women) will result in a list of your top three celebrity matches — complete with percentage.
Two-year-old mobile content provider J-Magic Inc. launched the service on a trial basis in late April. By early June, more than 22 million users had tried the service.

Although Google bought California-based photo recognition firm Neven Vision Inc. last year, it has yet to offer image recognition search services, although development is under way. Yahoo does not offer the services either, but says it is looking at a number of ways to improve its search functions.

Rather than text-based search engines, image and moving picture search engines will be the key to the Internet search industry in the near future, analysts say.

Some companies believe the kaocheki site has strong media potential, noting it has attracted not only tech-savvy teens and people in their early 20s, but also older people who don't usually take full advantage of cell phone functions.

"We aim to offer content that people enjoy and spend cash on, so that the content market will expand," said Miyata, who once worked as an engineer developing cell phone cameras. "People (regardless of age or sex) are naturally interested in their face."


New cell phone services tap image-recognition technologies

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