Prashant's Weblog
Random Brain "Droppings" of yet another software engineer

Friday, April 14, 2006

Riya rocks..

Its not very uncommon that at the very first interaction with a application, you are instantly in love with it and immediately know that this is something that you have been looking for. I had the same experience with Riya.

Riya is a photo search engine unlike any other in the image search domain today. While your normal serach engines search for the text and show the images associated with the text, Riya actually looks into the photo and search for people and text inside photo. imagine this, you have few thousands of digital images of your recent vacation to Hawaii and now you are looking for that one "Kodak moment", where in you and your girlfriend have been snapped in front of a hoarding which said "Welcome to Hawaii". While your normal image search engines would be a dud, Riya actually looks in to all your images and will hunt down the image that has the text "Welcome to Hawaii". Awesome isn't it! Search is not limited to text in the image, I can search for people. Say I want all photographs with my sister in it. Riya make this search possible.

You ask how does it work..well it does based on principle of contextual recognition. Its a geek term for concept of recognising a object based on the clues from the context in which the object is present. Say I upload a photo to Riya and tutor Riya saying that the face in the photograph is Prashant, now say I upload one more photo of mine taken couple of mins later where in I have my face tilted sideways. Now Riya is intelligent enough to read "contextual" clues like time stamp of the photo, colour of my shirt, skin, hair etc and automatically tag(read it as recognise) the person in the second photo as Prashant.

Now you may ask, given a photo the success rate of Riya correctly tagging a person in the photo depends on what clues does Riya look for and what is the weight it associates for each of these clues..yep that's absolutely right and to get this combination right, close to 10 PhD(your read the number correctly) geeks, who are said to be pioneers in the field of facial recognition are working with Riya. As per Munjal Shah, CEO and founder of Riya, If you give Riya 100 photos and sufficient training then Riya can tag the person correctly in close to 70 photos. That's really awesome.

The applications of this kind of image search technology is mind boggling. Imagine a mechanical component designer drawing a rough sketch of a component and submitting it to Riya like search engine which will crawl all through the engineering drawing repository and gets the component design, thus saving redesign hours. Thinks of the applications in the field of medicine and other allied fields. I would just say the possibilities are limitless.

All in all Riya is a great concept. I am eagerly looking forward to see some fantastic applications from this team. If you have not registered at Riya, all I will say is you are missing something good.


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