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December 9, 2007

Time on Polar Rose

Filed under: Image search, computer vision/machine vision/AI, reviews, rants, news — Peter @ 10:03 pm

For a while I’ve been planning to resume reviews of image search applications but couldn’t decide which one to start with. The decision was made for me – coverage of Polar Rose (last reviewed in March) appeared. Was it in TechCrunch? No, it appeared in Time Magazine!

They should be embarrassed.

Let’s start with this quote at the top of the page in large letters: “these Tech Pioneers show that the best technology is often just a new way of thinking about an old problem” (bold face theirs). So you don’t need expertise or hard work, all you need is to be original. A feel-good idea for little kids…

Now about the article itself. It occupies just a half-page but there is also a whole page picture on the front page of the series “Tech Pioneers”. As far as image search is concerned the article repeats the old promises of the founder: “click on a photo to search for other photos”, “turns photographs into 3-D images”. A new promise is this: plug-in for FF is given away and the one for IE coming soon. OK fine, let’s go to the site, download and test it. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is only beta testing going on! The testing is closed and there is no way to try it. How come it’s not available? “It’s a very slow business…”, according to the founder.

My guess is that the reporter didn’t try it either. Apparently, the whole thing came to Time from the World Economic Forum. Here Polar Rose promises to launch face matching “later this year”. We’ll see…

3 Responses to “Time on Polar Rose”

  1. Jan Erik Says:

    Hi Peter. I don’t really see how TIME writing about WEF’s selection of tech pioneers is embarrassing to anyone ;-)

    We plan to deliver on those promises in due time. Our first focus is on finding people in photos by combining face recognition with user input. Although we are working on general visual search we are not expecting that to come out anytime soon. So, as you put it, “we’ll see…” :-)

    Take care, /J

  2. Administrator Says:

    Thanks for your feedback, Jan.

    On the first point. Time should be embarrassed because of (a) the lame statement that I quoted, (b) overhype of your application that we yet to see.

    On the second point. I can see now that your immediate aspirations are more modest than Time implied. However, I had my doubts about the future of your approach to face recognition/matching when it was first announced and I still do. That’s why I was so disappointed when I was unable to test it. I wish you good luck though.


  3. Computer Vision for Dummies » Computer vision in TechCrunch awards Says:

    […] Viewdle – face recognition in videos. Makes a good demo but there is no way to test it. Can such technology ever be reliable? Once again it’s the 2D-to-3D issue. Bottom line, how is it better than Polar Rose? […]

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