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Visual search plus humor

Posted by Richard on March 8, 2007

If, like me, you think Google Image Search, Flickr, and Photobucket are pretty useful, but not as useful as they could be — well, you might want to keep an eye on Riya. It's still a pretty young outfit (company, service, technology, …), but there's a lot of potential there, and no shortage of ambitious goals:

Riya is a new kind of visual search engine. We look inside the image, not only at the text around it.

Use Riya to:

  • Find similar faces and objects on many images across the web.
  • Refine the results, using color, shape and texture.

We believe the time has come to truly make photos searchable, to let people say I want "more like this" and get what they want, and to eventually allow every public photo in the world to be found. We are only starting on this journey. Image search on the web hasn't changed significantly in many years. We are a geeky (and proud of it) group of engineers and researchers who are slowly innovating in this area. We look forward to your feedback via email or via our blog.

Like Flickr, Photobucket, et al, Riya lets you upload and store photos online (free, and with no number or bandwidth limit, but they're all resized to 800×600). You can keep pictures private, share them with friends, or make them public. But Riya can do some stuff the competition can't. Like recognize new pictures of Uncle Ernie (once you've identified him, of course) and tag them appropriately. And recognize text in pictures and generate tags from that.

The image database doesn't rival Google's, but Riya has some nice features, like the clickable tag cloud showing the most popular image tags. The size of the words indicates their relative popularity.

One thing that really struck me about their site — I believe it's the first time I've ever seen someone kidding around in the legally binding Terms of Use:

3. Grant of License.

The Company claims all rights to every photograph you have ever taken, even if you have not yet uploaded it to the Web Site. We even claim rights to future photographs you may take or even think about taking. Mwaaaaahahahahahaha…

Just kidding – this is not the evil empire. We don’t approve of the large scale theft of intellectual property by corporations on the web today who claim ownership to everything you do on their site. Our ACTUAL policy is that you keep all copyright rights you have to all of your photographs that you, through use of the Web Site, upload to the Web Site.

Check these guys out. An attitude like that deserves your support.

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