There was a period of time, when internet searches were new, where the technology seemed like magic. You could type literally anything into a search box, and instantly get results from around the web (and consequently around the world). Now nothing needs to remain a mystery, just type your question in a search box (or even ask a personal assistant in your phone like Siri), and the answer is just seconds away.
Now a new technology is starting to gain a lot of traction which allows you to search the world using pictures rather than words: image recognition. With image recognition, computers are able to determine what is represented in a photo and perform a search for sorts for that image. It can be used to identify what something is, say an usual plant or animal, or can even be used for more complex ideas, like purchasing clothing.
One company implementing image recognition technology in an interesting way is Slyce. The company uses the camera on your phone to essentially turn the world into your own personal shopping mall. For instance, with Slyce someone could snap a photo of a cute purse they see that they see someone carrying at a coffee shop, and then instantly get options on where to buy the same purse, or something similar, online.
The idea is particularly interesting, because it doesn’t require customers to know what something is, simply take a picture of it. Even better, it can be used to comparison shop while you’re out and about as well. For instance, if you absolutely love a pair of designer boots, but don’t have the funds to buy them, you could snap a photo and be able to search for another pair that looks similar, but doesn’t have quite as steep a price tag.
The future is definitely in images. Are you ready?