Image recognition search engines are leading the way today as a new method for the curious public to discover on-the-go information. Once confined to the realm of text-based searching, now consumers are able to rely on software powered by computer-vision technology to connect isolated images with the world at large.
Google is one of the larger companies utilizing computer vision to provide a service to its customers. Its Google Goggles application, made available last year on both the Android and iPhone platforms, allows users to take a picture of a product or a landmark and returns results about the picture in question and any related products or information. In the future, Google hopes to expand its results to living objects, proposing the identification of plant and animal species based upon pictures.
Another company, Pongr, is using similar technology but in a different way. Instead of providing a purely informational service, Pongr bridges the gap between consumer and advertiser. According to a recent press release from the company, users can send in photos of products they like and Pongr will return to the customer with information, links and special offers on and from that brand, while the companies themselves learn valuable information about their consumers and target audiences.
The most recent example of this is Pongr’s collaboration with Pepsi and The X Factor, which asks consumers to send in pictures of Pepsi products advertising The X Factor. In turn, they will be sent links to exclusive content pertaining to the brands and entered into a contest to win – all through the use of computer-vision technology.
The following graphic is Pongr’s explanation of how it works:
The technology is nothing new, but Pongr puts a new spin on it, by capitalizing on something that is already a part of the status quo: cell phone users taking pictures. It then caters to this demographic by connecting the consumer’s every day world with the online world. And at first glance, this appears to be a win-win situation for all parties involved. However, it does bring up the question of what continually new and interesting ways can computer-vision technology be put to use.