Friday, January 23, 2009

Pixsta the next generation of search? - Image based Search

Article From timbourne

The IET hosted a stimulating session from Dr. Daniel Heesch the man behind Pixsta on Tuesday evening (20th Jan).

Although Google are pre-eminent in the field of search there are other ways we might consider initializing searches and with the number of images on the web growing at an extraordinary rate there is potentially a whole new field of image search to monetize.
Having undertaken his doctorate around the issues of image retrieval Daniel has since started a company to exploit the knowledge he’s gained and its called, rather neatly PIXSTA.
So far the technology of image search is in its’ infancy and can be seen demo'd in the fields of shopping - mainly Shoes, Handbags and Dresses (remember how important shoes are to Jen from the IT crowd ?)
It was was pointed out by one of the bright young things in attendance at the session that there’s also great potential in ‘porn image searches’ too!
Currently image searches tend to rely on the tags (meta data) attributed to images rather than an actual analysis of the images, the use of images is intuitive for humans and if someone can get the search engine to do the job well it could be of great use (and commercial value).
Be interesting to see if Google acquires this company or if it has already created a tool to achieve the same goal itself.
Issues for me are how the images index out from an 'optimum' handbag (or whatever the image class is) - to meet other criteria (colour, size material etc.) - I imagine the real 'holy grail' would be around faces as human beings are so incredibly good at differentiating here (be a great way of online dating too).
Having stayed awake for most of the session I now at least am able to drop the Turing Test into conversation to impress my peers

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