Viewdle reviewed by Google's Marissa Mayer

Bambi Francisco Roizen · December 22, 2008 · Short URL:

Search expert joins Vator Box team to evaluate the facial-recognition technology startup

Viewdle, which recently won the Le Web pitch competition in early December, was in the spotlight for this week's Vator Box. Viewdle is a facial-recognition technology startup that was founded in 2006. Who better to evaluate technology to help us find things across the Web in an automated fashion than Marissa Mayer, Google's VP of search experience.

Overall, Mayer, Ezra Roizen (Vator Box regular and digital media investment banker and me) found Viewdle to be very promising. 

Here are some highlights raised by the three of us in this segment:

- What percent of the time will the technology offer up images of Sarah Palin, when someone is searching for Tina Fey? In other words, discerning between look-alikes (and even those who look nothing alike) appear to be a challenge for Viewdle. In fact, search for Angelina Jolie on Viewdle in Reuters Labs, and the top search result is a video of Christie's auctioning off Marilyn Monroe photos

- The problem is changing as Viewdle rolls out the solution, meaning 10 to 20 years ago, there were a set or celebrities to identify. With the advent of YouTube and Flickr, there are many more faces online, and therefore many more opportunities to mistake one person for another 

- Based on Viewdle's application on Reuters, the library of videos appears extremely limited

- There must be some speech-to-text technology integrated into the Viewdle system because the top search result was spot on when searching for John McCain and his retort to President-elect Barack Obama, "If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago"

- Licensing to big media companies, that clearly need an automated way to tag and identify content, would be lucrative as is licensing to government agencies

- Facial-recognition technology seems to be far less advanced than speech-to-text, meaning this technology may need more time to actually be monetizable 

- Being a stand-alone video destination site probably doesn't make sense as consumers probably prefer a more general search engine where an end-user could find text, images, and video on one topic

- Google is looking at some speech-to-text and facial-recognition technologies. If Viewdle could help automate the world's information by using facial-recognition... well, you never know.

Next week, Mayer will be the guest host for when we evaluate Appssavvy. Watch other Vator Box segments with Mayer, reviewing Woome and Searchme.




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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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appssavvy is a mobile advertising technology company with the mission of rethinking the delivery and reception of advertising. Focused on activity, appssavvy redefines how brands reach consumers, creates native ad experiences for publishers, and most importantly, improves advertising through data and insights about real-time behavior.




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Viewdle is about capture in the moment.  We’re focused on enabling consumers to manage, tag, and share their media as they create it, anywhere.  

Viewdle was founded in 2007, with the vision of helping people share and tag all of their photos and videos on any media creation device - from servers to laptops to mobile phones - through visual analysis and facial recognition technology. 

Initially developed in The Cybernetics Institute in Kiev, Ukraine., more than 10 years of research and development has gone into Viewdle’s technology.  Viewdle runs the world’s largest independent visual analysis research team with 8 PhDs and 30 other visual analysis specialists.  Its core technology has been independently benchmarked as the fastest and most efficient available.
Viewdle’s first consumer product, is focused on harnessing the power of people’s social family and friend network, so users can automatically tag people in their photos and easily manage albums from their desktop to Facebook.  Viewdle on the desktop makes it so that you'll never have to tag photos again.




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Searchme lets you see what you’re searching for. As you start typing, categories appear that relate to your query. Choose a category, and you’ll see pictures of web pages that answer your search. You can review these pages quickly to find just the information you’re looking for, before you click through.

We’re just getting started on our first step towards creating an entirely new way to search the Web. The quality of our results will vary as we make Searchme better and better. If you have comments or suggestions we’d love to hear from you. We love feedback.

We’re also looking for more great people to join our team, as well as ways to partner with companies to deliver more value to our users. And, of course, we’re always happy to chat with the press.

Thanks for using Searchme!



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Ezra Roizen

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Advisor-to and commenter-on emerging ventures

Marissa Mayer

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