Thursday, 13th April 2006
Microsoft's Camera Phone Search Project and Other Camera Phone Search Tech
Camera Phone Searching
Searching With Your Camera Phone: Photo2Search, Research from Microsoft
Always searching for info online by typing a query via a keyboard might one day be considered old school for some types of searching. It will not be today, tomorrow, or even five years from now but it's coming. Think of it as another option to the keyboard.
Earlier this week we posted that Google was awarded a patent for voice-based search (the patent was filed in 2002) and we're ending the week with this item about camera phone searching. We've been mentioning this type of technology for the past couple of years and now via this news release from MSFT we read about an MS Research Asia project called Photo2Search.
"Photo2Search works like this: Seeking information about something seen, a user takes a photo of the object and sends the photo, via e-mail or Multimedia Messaging Service, to a Web-based server, which searches an image database for matches. The server then delivers database information--whether it be a Web page featuring the object in the photo or information associated with the object to the user, who can act on the information received: read a menu, enter a gallery, book a hotel room, make a purchase." More about Photo2Search will be presented in a paper at the seventh International Conference on Mobile Data Management in May. The paper itself is not online (yet) but we will try to track down a copy. You can also monitor the MSR Asia Web Search & Mining Group site as well as the personal sites and blogs of the authors for more about Photo2Search.
Other camera phone search technology is already available. Including:
Basically, point your cameraphone at an ad in magazine, movie poster, logo, etc., snap a pic, and send it via SMS. Info about what you've snapped is returned via a text message. More about the technology that powers Mobot here.
An open system. Point your cameraphone at barcode-like symbols and be taken to a web page about that item. Here's a gallery of what a few people have done with Semacode thus far including the Semapedia (cameraphone searching + Wikipedia data). In the future will "tagging" something refer to Semacode tags? :-)
In 2003, Amazon began offering cameraphone comparison shopping. Snap an image of a barcode and get pricing info on your phone.
UPDATE: This technology comes from NeoMedia's QUODE.
Content based image retrieval (CBIR) also comes into play here and we've posted several items on companies, tools, and research in this space. You'll also find a few demos.
+ All About Content Based Image Retrieval.
+ Demo Some Content Based Image Retrieval Software
+ Image Databases to Find "Visually Similar" Imagery and More
+ Finding "Patterns" in Your Face
Companies mentioned in these posts include VIMA Technologies, LTU Technologies, and Google.
Finally, in the past six months Riya, a facial recognition search tool, has gotten plenty of attention. Register to use Riya here (free).
See Also: Like.com
UPDATE: xcavator Content Based Image Search Adds More Imagery and More Image Search Providers
UPDATE: Both Exalead and Google now offer facial recognition search.