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Search By Camera! delivers product data from cellphone pics

Evan Blass

Much like the Photo2Search project being developed by Microsoft Research Asia, a new cameraphone-based image recognition service called Search By Camera! is promising to help consumers acquire info on products by simply snapping a picture while shopping. Developed by Bandai Networks and D2 Communications, using technology from Evolution Robotics (which is also at the core of a similar service launched earlier this year, called Mobot Mobile Visual Search, as well as having been recently licensed by Robosapien manufacturer WowWee Robotics), Search By Camera! will currently only work for the handful of folks who happen to have imported a DoCoMo FOMA N902iS phone into the US. Further degrading its utility is the fact that Bandai and D2C must get permission for each and every product they want to include in their database, which has so far only come from a scant ten companies. Still, even if this particular initiative doesn't take off, it's pretty clear that image recognition will play a leading role in the future of mobile search, with many handsets already possessing the proper tools that make such a service feasible.

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