The future of razorblades is, uh, razors

The NYTimes has an article on Munjal Shah’s implementation of photo similarity search as a shopping tool, with the headline Shopping Site Offers a Way to Raid a Celebrity’Closet. This, of course, is, the newly launched incarnation of Riya‘s photo algorithms, which apparently doesn’t succeed in precisely identifying a person you know across thousands of photos, but works great on items–and people–that look like others.

Bob Tedeschi, the reporter, writes: “ represents a fall-back plan of sorts for Mr. Shah, who originally used the technology behind to create Riya, which helps users organize their digital photos. That service has been popular among users and investors, having attracted $19.5 million from venture capitalists including Bay Partners and Leapfrog Ventures, but Mr. Shah said it had a doomed business plan, because there were not enough ways to make money from it.”

Susan sez: The picture slays me, but I admire the realization that these super cool tools need commercial applications–and hope Munjal and his team generate a few more interesting products off their algo.

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  1. Greg Yardley says:

    I thought was kind of neat when I first saw it, but my idea of fashion is a t-shirt that’s not fraying around the neck.
    My wife, who actually does care about fashion, was much harder on it –
    For Riya to really make a go of this, I think they need to make their algorithms a lot more vertical- specific and let them learn a bit from their users. That each result returned doesn’t have a big button beside it that a searcher can press to say ‘whoa, you got this completely wrong’ bothers me.

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