Riya Facial Recognition Software & Web Search

ZDNet is reporting that Riya, a creator of advanced facial recognition software for photos, is planning on deploying their technology on the world wide web to offer a web search that would attempt to search and recognize people in the billions of publicly available images online.

From the article —

Currently, Riya allows users to upload photos to its site and users can train the system to recognize faces. It also recognizes text in images, and can slice photos by time taken (not uploaded), location (with a Google Maps mashup) and found text. It also provides tagging, photo sharing and public and private albums. I have over a thousand photos on Riya, and the recognition technology is impressive.

So far, Riya users have uploaded over 7.23 million photos (it launched on March 21), and users have ‘trained’ about 60 percent of the faces uploaded, Shah told me.

He expects to hit 10 million photos in the next six to eight weeks. “As a photo site, we have exceeded the initial growth rate of Flickr,” Shah said. Of course, there is more broadband connectivity than when Flickr came on the scene, but there are also many more photos uploading sites. Flickr was acquired by Yahoo in March 2005, and has over 100,000 million photos.

But Shah isn’t planning to focus on photo organization, sharing and hosting. His goal is to build in capabilities to search across billions of publicly available images. “We are still focused on people uploading [images],” Shah said. “And, we have been a search engine the whole time. We are better at finding people, and our [searching] is growing faster than uploading. You will see us do more crawling and searching of public images in addition to what is uploaded.”

You can read the entire article on ZDNet @ Riya heading into Web search.

You can visit the Riya web site @ Riya.