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Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

Visual Recognition Technology is Applied to Search at Like.com

 

A new shopping search engine has brought to the public a technology that has been used mostly in movies and the offices of law enforcement – visual recognition. The new search engine, Like.com employs their “Likeness Technology™ to create a digital signature that describes the photo’s contents and enables a more accurate search for similar looking items and products,” says the About Us page on Like.com.

The Likeness Technology™ can be put to work searching for products in the following ways:

  1. By Description:
    - Type a description of a watch you are interested in viewing: i.e. “dual chronograph”
    - You will be presented with a list of watches that have (in most cases) only two chronographs on the face.
    - Now choose a watch that has a particular styling that you like such as the chronographs appearing above and below the dial.
    - Once you select a watch you are then asked to draw a box around the portion of the watch that intrigued you. In this case I drew a box over the whole face.
    - After selecting I was provided with three options to tell the system what I liked about the selection I made; was it the “Shape”, “Color” or “Both”? I selected “shape”.
    - The result of my search presented me with a larger selection of dual chronograph watches interspersed with less relevant results.
  2. By Celebrity: this search option allows you to match the latest styles of favorite celebrities by using the Likeness Technology™ to search for products that match a particular piece of clothing that a celebrity is wearing. For example:
    - Go to the Celebrity section
    - Now select your favorite celebrity and you will be presented with the latest photos of your celebrity where you can search for particular aspects of their wardrobe that have been preselected by Like.com for queries (i.e. Tom Cruise’s shoes, or Sienna Miller’s ear rings).
    - Just click on the bauble that you are most interested in and you will be provided with a plethora of products that match (in some manner) the object shown in the image.
    - Now you can alter color, shape and pattern in order to find the ideal product for you.
  3. Like Upload: a feature coming soon will allow you to upload your own picture and have the Like search engine help you find products that match the item from the image that you desire.

What is my take? Well this is a great technology that will undoubtedly be huge in the future but is very much in beta at the moment. The fact is that the results appear to be very shaky; I found myself wading through many irrelevant results.

Criticisms aside I must commend Like.com on their ingenuity and technological brilliance; this technology has serious potential. All-in-all I highly recommend at least trying out Like.com especially if you are a vendor of wares that is constantly on the look out for new advertising opportunities. Give it some time and I bet Like.com will be offering a submission scheme like Google Base; for offline and online vendors to submit their own products for Like.com search results.

Oh and about the Celebrities… as if the world needs another avenue for celebrity worship! I felt rather queezy to see that search option.

By Ross Dunn, CEO, StepForth Search Engine Placement Inc.
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