A new phone app helps you find your perfect match – if you’re looking for a cat or dog, that is. The PetMatch app allows users to upload an image of a cute critter and then searches through its database of nearby animals that are almost identical and up for adoption. The gizmo, launched by California startup Superfish, uses algorithms and patented image recognition technology to plot key characteristics (eyes, mouth and color) to speed up the search process. Metro chats to co-founder Adi Pinhas about why pictures are worth a thousand words.
Did you start PetMatch because you needed to replace a dead pet?
[Laughs] No, it wasn’t for that reason. We started with animals because it’s a great news case study for a visual search. It demonstrates the technology in a way that shows that visual searches can be more fun and efficient than text searches. Rarely you know the name of a breed’s name or how to search for it, so this app does the hard bit for you.
What else can you match up?
It can do lots of neat stuff: People are taking images of desserts in a restaurant and we can show them restaurants that are selling similar desserts. If you take a picture of a chair or piece of furniture, you can find a similar style through the app.
Are you just trying to make life easier for people?
Yes, we are looking and we’re thinking how can we make the camera a lot smarter. If someone wants a handbag or want to know they name of a flower, they can take a pic and find out it’s name and where it is available.
People will have to think less …
Well, it’s easier for you to connect with the world around you. Instead of opening Google and using keywords, you can take a pic. Why try to do it in keywords when you have a picture?