ActiveSymbols, Digimark Make Moves Into Image Search

Posted on 11/12/2007 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The technology segment devoted to visual search is continuing its development on both ends of the spectrum. On one side are the businesses that want to monetize the public's thirst for imagery, fueled by the proliferation of social media, photo-sharing and Web 2.0-style communities. On the opposite end, there are content owners and publishers, whose copyright-enforcement concerns are growing at a corresponding pace.

In an effort to appeal to the general public, Google is continuing the process of integrating facial-recognition technologies of Neven Vision, a company it acquired in April 2006, into its photo-sharing product Picassa. On a smaller scale, Silicon Valley startup Riya, initially launched to help people catalog personal photos, now offers Web-wide visual search that uses face and image similarity.

New players continue to emerge.

Today, Seattle, Wash.-based ActiveSymbols announced the beta launch of the Eyealike Visual Search platform. The platform attempts to capitalize on both Internet users and content providers by offering each a different product. People using online dating services can supply an image they like and search for look-alikes. Content providers are promised the first enterprise search solution for facial recognition, image detection and video copyright surveillance.

Facial recognition algorithms already have a place in the stock-licensing industry. PicScout, for example, uses this technology to monitor and enforce the copyrights of its clients, which include all the leading agencies. The younger Idée and Attributor offer similar services.

Digimarc, a name familiar to many photographers, today announced that it is enhancing its image-search and digital watermarking capabilities through a partnership with BD-BrandProtect. The Beaverton, Ore.-based online security and media-management company will use BrandProtect's ImageWalker technology to search, analyze and report on more than 200 million images digitally watermarked by Digimarc clients. Digimarc's product, ImageBridge, is similar to services that focus exclusively on the stock industry: It employs an Internet crawler to enable content owners to track their images, advertising and other proprietary visual content.

Stuart Rosove, senior director of business development for Digimarc, says the importance and value of such monitoring has increased exponentially with content being distributed virally. It helps image owners find new ways of monetizing such assets, placing Digimarc in direct competition with the smaller, privately held companies currently providing such services.

Copyright © 2007 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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