With New Search Tech, Dating Matt Damon Just Got Easier

A new startup company has created an online dating demo that conducts searches based on the facial features of desired celebrities and returns results showing potential mates that look like, for example, Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt. To use the demo, called “Eyealike,” a user simply uploads a photo to the Eyealike Web site and conducts a search across 300,000 images scraped from Match.com and AmericanSingles.com.

The Eyealike Visual Search (VS) platform uses algorithms to evaluate the complete geometry of the face, including skin tone, eyes, hair color, texture and length as well as hundreds of other relevant data points in order to find matches that resemble the person in the photo. So “Angelina” photos pull up chicks who have lips, eyes, skin and hair that resemble hers, and “Brad” photos deliver results that show dudes with short hair, strong jaws and big foreheads.

Works With Ordinary Faces, Too

Of course, the software can use photos of an ordinary person and deliver results that resemble him or her. So for singles around the world, searching for pretty people may soon become easier than ever before. On the flip side, Eyealike also lets regular Joes upload their own photos to compare them to celebrity photos to find out which stars they resemble most.

ActiveSymbols President Greg Heuss told TechNewsWorld that the Eyealike demo is really just that — a demo designed to show off some of the potential for his company’s new image identification applications.

“That product is really the first of many that we hope to launch in the next couple of years that showcase and feature what we do with facial and image recognition,” Heuss explained. “This is going to be an enterprise play — licensable software, not a destination site.”

Right now, Heuss expects that, in addition to online dating services, any social networking site that has a need for image searching could easily be a possible customer. With MySpace and Facebook having millions of users and taking more in each day, it’s not hard to imagine utilizing images to find people — particularly those with common first and last names.

EyealikZeitgeist of Search?

“I think we can change the way people are searching out there, and if you believe that one day you’ll be searching via an image just as you would via textually, you can believe in this product,” Heuss said.

For example, the underlying concepts and technology could be used for advertising or shopping-related searches. A photo of a watch, shoe, shirt or toaster may eventually help people find what they’re looking for without having to know what brand name or manufacturer they’re looking for.

“Today’s search engines were designed from the ground up to retrieve images based on keywords from captions or in context to an article. While this approach works well for retrieving alphanumeric data, it is inadequate on many occasions for rich digital media because these keywords do not always correlate with the actual objects found in the images,” noted Linda Shapiro, professor of computer science at the University of Washington. “A better solution requires analyzing the actual images to correctly identify the objects, their appearances and their spatial relationships.”

Surveillance and Copyright on the Way

“In the first quarter next year, we’ll be launching our video surveillance and copyright technology,” Heuss noted.

Called “Eyealike Video Copyright Surveillance,” this application can be used to identify copyright material by scanning for images that match the copyrighted images. It works with video, too, because video is really just a series of still images that can be matched to copyrighted content.

Heuss said ActiveSymbols just has six employees right now, but plans to start a round of venture capital funding next year.

In the meantime, singles can use visual searches on the Eyealike.com beta demo to look for love.

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