January 21, 2014 | Maria Talley

Image Recognition: the Future of Web Search

Image Recognition Technology

Though QR codes were the height of mobile marketing just a few short years ago, new technologies are in development that could quickly make them obsolete. In the past, customers could take a picture of a boring black and white QR code to visit a page on a company's website, but that was the extent of interactive mobile marketing.

Today, evolving image recognition technology promises that customers will soon be able to conduct web searches by taking a photo of a specific object, allowing them to learn more about what they are actually looking for on the path to purchase.

Image recognition technology became popular in 2010 with the introduction of a mobile app called Google Goggles, which allows users to perform Google searches by taking a picture of an object with a smartphone.

Today, image recognition can identify brand logos, artwork, CD covers, cars, among many other things. For example, Ebay Motors has a mobile app that allows users to search for a car's make, model and year by taking a photo of the back of the vehicle. The app will then match the photo with an auction listing in less than 4 seconds with 95% accuracy.

Social media websites like Pinterest have also embraced the power of image recognition. Last Monday, Pinterest announced the acquisition of VisualGraph, a technology startup that provides image recognition algorithm to better understand what people are pinning, so they can find more interesting and exciting pins.

Image recognition technology promises to help brands identify the objects that have value to their customers, improving marketing results and reducing operational and customer service costs.

By offering tailored search options that help consumers find exactly what they are looking for, image recognition offers a solid opportunity for brands to make customer shopping experience more interactive.

For example, if you own a clothing boutique, your customers could use an image recognition app to check inventory in their size by simply snapping a photo of a dress. This will also allow the sales staff to spend more time helping customers on the floor rather than checking stock levels in the back, reducing operational cost and improving customer service.

Combined with geolocation technology, image recognition can unravel great possibilities for retailers to collect information about what their customers are interested in buying and at what locations, and tailor the right products to the customers even before they make a purchase.

How do you think image recognition will influence your brand? Let us know in the comments!

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Maria Talley

Maria Talley

Maria Chueva Talley is a long-time friend of VIEO and guest contributor to our blog. She was VIEO's Internet Marketing Manager for several years, and has recently moved on new internet and marketing adventures.

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