A visual search engine, meaning a search engine based on pictures and videos and not on search words, is hardly a new idea. While the technology for computerized recognition does not appear to be too complicated, up until now no company has succeeded in implementing this service and reaching out to users. Mobli, the social network for sharing pictures and video, is now trying to enter this niche sector. Following three years of development, they have come out with EyeIn, a search engine and plugin for content sites.
Photo search and smart prioritization
Their new search engine allows users to experience events taking place around the globe in real-time. For example, if you search for E3, the world’s largest gaming convention, you can gain access to pictures and video clips that are being uploaded live from the users at the event. The technology draws in content from across the big name social networks including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and of course, Mobli.
So far this new product sounds more like a simple upgrade of a feature that we know from web searches. The difference is that in comparison with other search engines, EyeIn’s algorithm scans the photos and understands what is actually in the picture before evaluating how to rate them according to importance. This capability can definitely come in handy for avoiding a lot of the junk floating around out there on the web to help you find the content you want.
Take for example a search for a Beyonce concert: EyeIn can sort out all of the posted selfie pics and bring you only pictures of the global superstar.
Moving beyond simple image analysis, this search engine also takes sound into account in video clips. Say that you do a search for Copa America. The program will promote videos that have the crowd roaring, using the assumption that the sound signifies a goal being scored and is more likely to be of interest to the majority of users searching for clips of the game.
As an added bonus, EyeIn analyzes hashtags to find relevant material for the user. A part of this is excluding irrelevant tags that are added by those uploading the content to gain greater exposure for their material.
EyeIn also shows users whatever topics are trending at the moment. Right now, the topics gaining the most attention are the Los Angeles Film Festival, the E3 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo, the final game of the NBA, and the season finale of Game of Thrones (Be ready, Spoilers are coming).
Not to be confined to just being a search engine, Mobli has announced that they will also make a plugin available for content providers. This feature will allow sites to add a feed that is constantly being updated with new photos and videos from ongoing events. If a news site is writing about a demonstration taking place, then the plugin can add pictures directly to the feed attached to the story as they are being uploaded from the protest. Or in a less combustible example, if an entertainment site posts an article in the lead up to a concert, they can then later add a feed of pictures from the live show.
The business model for the plugin will be based on a RevShare plan where Mobli will receive part of the revenue along with the content sites. They are currently running pilot programs with a number of the major players in web content, including the Huffington Post, which has an impressive audience of tens of millions of American readers.
Moshe Hogeg: “We want to become the industry standard.”
Speaking with Geektime, CEO Moshe Hogeg explains that Mobli will display the most relevant search results for any topic, and not just content originating from Mobli itself. He says to expect more and more content coming from other sites like Facebook in the near future. Currently, the vast majority of the results are being drawn out of Instagram.
Geektime: Let’s say that I manage a content website: How can I be sure that the plugin will not show unsuitable images?
“The plugin has three different settings: Automatic where the pictures come up without any involvement from the hosting site; Semi-automatic, where the pictures only show up after they have been approved by the site manager or writer; Finally in manual, wherein the editor has to individually select which images to publish from the relevant options.”
Supposedly, you are competing with image search services like Google or Flicker, but is it right to say that you are competing more directly with services like Outbrain and Taboola?
“Right, our plugin falls into the field of content enrichment. Essentially, it enriches the content of an article on a news site and in that sense, we are their competitors. Also our revenue model is similar and based on RevShare with the publishers.”
What is your next step? Where would you like to see EyeIn going?
“I imagine EyeIn as the industry standard, bringing out rich content for every article, content that is relevant and not just another ad.”
You are looking out to the international market at some of the biggest content providers around the world. Why did you choose to launch EyeIn in Israel?
“We are an Israeli company. I wanted all the employees who were a part of the process to be a part of this celebration. At the same time, we broadcasted the launch event over a live feed to the U.S.”
Gabriel Avner translated the original post.