There are hundreds of new startups sprouting up around where i live. There's everything from proximity based IM (Meetro) to 2 hour shipping (licketyship) to online ajax based desktops (netvibes, live, etc). After a point of time, the sheer number of these startups erodes the whole coolness associated with each idea. In these times, it is once in a blue moon, that u see an idea that really makes u go "WOW!".. Riya is one of them.
I came across Riya a few weeks back.. It is started by a group of Indians and there are some really bright people on the team.. What they are basically doing is developing facial recognition technology.. hmmm... not that cool??
yea, facial recognition technology is a pretty old idea.. there has been a lot of research on this field, especially in universities and by some biggies in the industry (like fujifilm).. but the difference is that all that research has been focused on industrial and corporate applications of this technology.. stuff like biometrics and all.. and most of these technologies were half cooked, low on reliability, and shielded from the public..
Riya, on the other hand, is making this kitchen table technology.. It is bringing it to everyone on the internet.. it is making facial recognition technology another element of our day to day lives!
Riya basically can recognize a person in any photo which shows the person's face.. think about the potential applications.. this could mean adding a whole new dimension to internet or desktop image searches! no more tagging required.. (i just had a short amusing discussion with ashwini about how this is a whole league ahead of tagging technology!).. i see this as something that google would jump at for its image search.. u can test drive their technology at their site.. on any photo, it automatically identifies all the faces and, if stored in the database, it recognizes the individuals..
another application would be to put this technology right into our digicams.. so every time u take a photo, they are automatically tagged with the names of the people in the photo!
the potential number of applications is huge.. i'm just waiting right now for riya to come out of beta..
oh, and another thing... hopefully they are able to work out a biz model to keep it free for us end users!