THE UK'S FOREMOST "visual search company", Plink, has been snatched up by Google, the Oxford-based company announced today.
The four month-old start-up provided, until now, visual search results based on artwork photography submitted to its PlinkArt application on your Android handset. The principle is simple: take a shot of a painting, run it through the Plink art database and get the details on the artwork and its artist.
Most museums have some serious regulations against photography and not much effort goes into reading the label underneath the painting where the artwork is hung. We can see where the indie artwork scene has enjoyed this technology as barely-known flingers of paint can potentially become overnight sensations through the use of such applications.
The team at Plink will now be assimilated into the warm fold of mother Google and help the company develop the visual element in Goggles, or as Mark Cummins put it, "We're looking forward to helping the Goggles team build a visual search engine that works not just for paintings or book covers, but for everything you see around you".
We can see numerous applications beyond the money-sinking cultural ones. For instance, it should also be able to cross-reference pricing of an item based on a quick shot of what you want to buy, giving a whole new meaning to window-shopping.
This is the reported as being Google's first UK acquisition, but the company had already thrown some serious money Plink's way, $100 000, when Android users picked it as one of their favourite apps in a user survey last year. µ
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