Image recognition: Nokia Point & Find
Image-recognition is a growing field of search for mobile. This technology allows you to skip the keyboard for information on products you encounter in the real world. Companies like Mobot, SnapTell, SnapNow and kooaba all offer variations on this service. For each, you can take a picture with any kind of camera phone on any carrier service and then send the picture to them via MMS or email. In return, you receive search results, promotions, videos, reviews, ratings, ringtones and so forth.
While the technologies are similar, the companies vary in the details and execution. For example, SnapTell is praised for working well even with poor quality images and for having one of the biggest databases. SnapTell also offers an iPhone app, as does kooaba, which eliminates the need to send the picture anywhere. Instead, simply open the app, snap a picture and await your results.
The newest player to the image-recognition game is Nokia, which recently released the beta version of its Nokia Point & Find service. One feature that differentiates Point & Find from its competitors is that you needn’t take a picture at all. Instead, users just point their camera phone at the image or bar code. From there, Point & Find uses the camera, the Internet and GPS services to evaluate the object and then rapidly searches through a database of virtually tagged items to identify it and return associated content. According to Philipp Schloter, General Manager, Nokia Point & Find:
“We believe that this first Nokia Point & Find-based service for movies will add something special to the cinema experience. Simply by pointing their camera phone at a poster for a new movie, people can watch the trailer, read reviews, and find the closest cinema where it is playing.”
Because Point & Find is in beta, there are still kinks to be worked out. Some reviewers say the technology doesn’t work perfectly yet, and it’s also only available in the UK and the US. Additionally, the functionality is currently limited to movie posters. However, plans are in the works to expand into other services, such as product information and consumer reviews, as well as other countries. In the meantime, Nokia is inviting companies to discuss how Point & Find can help them with specific applications, campaigns or promotions.
It will be interesting to see if more flexible readers like this one increase consumer usage of QR codes and image recognition technology, or if advertisements need to increasingly place and promote calls to action. I did try out couple of services like TagIT & fotolink couple of years back, but it was simply dificult as users in India were averse to download any kind of application on the existing GPRS connections that time. One more hinderance we faced was the non-portability of MMS across carriers. I am sure Nokia with it’s penetration in India will be a definite help in overcoming this.
Movies is surely the best bet to start of here 🙂
What do you think….?