Tinder, Tigers, and... Tagging

It's sometimes striking how fast some crazy ideas go viral nowadays... and the tiger selfies on Tinder :) make no exception, going far enough to escalate to the attention of the New York State Assembly.

Funny (or not), taking selfies with tigers, and eventually using them as profile pictures, is not allowed in NY any more, unless you want to pay the $500 fine for a few seconds of glory.

Being an image recognition company, especially focused on auto-tagging, it seems to us like a piece of cake to detect if there is a tiger on the image! Here is an example:

 

Tinder, Tigers, Tagging
Tinder, tigers, and tagging

You can see the sample test here and upload/paste a tiger selfie (not yours of course) to try it out.

And this could be used via API access by Tinder to warn users... or by the state assembly to detect them ;)

Just another (weird) validation how widespread image recognition could be nowadays... In any types of apps and use-cases, as images are becoming the ultimate way to communicate and express ourselves so easily, thanks to the cameras in our pockets.

Have an awesome idea that would greatly benefit from automated image tagging? Just sign up for free here and give our auto-tagging API a try.


Free consultancy hours with the image organization pros

Office Hacking @ Imagga

We are happy to announce a new initiative starting effectively tomorrow - free office hours every Friday form 3 to 5 PM GMT, where we'll consult image-intensive companies and startups on how to better handle, organize or monetize huge amounts of photos.

It's not limited to the search, cropping and categorization solutions of Imagga. We are here to help and will be completely open and honest on what solutions (Imagga's, or others') may work best for you.

If you've already realized you have problems or missed opportunities with image content, make sure to reserve a slot! We have a total of four 30 minutes slots for Skype call, Google hangout or in person meeting in our office every Friday, allocating them on a first come first served basis!

Ping us via email api (at) imagga (dot) com or via tweet to @imagga by Friday morning GMT every week and we'll be happy to chat!


What we are after in 2014 - democratizing machine learning as a service and applying it in practice

2013 was such an exciting year for us! We partnered multiple photo-related hackathons (Seedhack 3Startup Weekend Mobile Sofia and Photo Hack Day Menlo ParkPhoto Hack Day BerlinSeedhack 4; plus one more coming in a less than two weeks - Photo Hack Day Tokyo!) and created a lot of friends there.

We also closed our seed round from LAUNCHub and several angel investors, extended our team with two great software engineers, visited several leading industry and technology conferences (Tech Crunch Disrupt BerlinWeb Summit DublinMicroStock Expo BerlinleWeb Paris), and made a major leap in our core technology:

Auto-categorization of images for different use-cases
Auto-categorization of images for different use-cases

We on-boarded new customers and partnered with two great image processing and management services - Blitline and Cloudinary that now offer our smart cropping as part of their feature sets (the latter, still in private beta).

Now 2014 has already come, and it's time to roll out several awesome products, enabled by our recent technology advancements. There is a huge hype around A.I. and machine learning these days. But for us this isn't just a hype... it's what we've been working on hard in the last year. And we want to bring this to the people (and start-ups, and companies), empowering them to take advantage of machine learning for better understanding and organization of their imagery in the easiest possible way.

We are aiming to keep the lean/iterative approach so we'll definitely rely on your active feedback, ideas, and inclusion in the process. Happy to share that we already have multiple successful pilots with customers taking advantage of our machine-learning-based auto-categorization, as in the example image above, and some more customers in the pipeline. Now it's your turn! If you are interested in auto-categorization and you think it can help your image-centric businesses or projects (and believe me, it will help them for sure) give a try to our auto-categorization "playground".

Mobile is also going to be bigger and bigger and this is something we are definitely interested in as the development of our smart photo organization app Sliki proves. Sliki was recently selected to join the AppCampus programme so we'll release it on Windows Phone first (which is a great platform for development BTW), but we also conduct some closed tests on Android. Sign up here and we'll keep you updated on how Sliki goes. Funny enough, the (hardware-enabled) future seems bright even for complex computer vision on mobile as explained in this video.

All in all, It's a really exciting journey and you are more than welcome to join it as an advisor, investor, employee, partner, customer or just a friend :)


Hacking The Hackathons

The first one was Startup Weekend Mobile Sofia (Bulgaria), held in Vivacom HQ, April 5-7. Great event with more than 120 participants eager to brainstorm and prototype ideas about the next cool mobile apps. It was one of the best hackathons I’ve been at, not only in Bulgaria but worldwide. A lot of bright people and super productive engineers.
Something that made me extremely happy is that the most of the ideas were globally (and not locally) oriented – something that wasn’t typical in Bulgaria until recently. Let’s hope that this change in mentality will bring the Bulgarian startup community closer and closer to global success.

I took the last chance in Friday to pitch an idea and decided to pitch it as a spin-off project from Imagga, about building mobile app(s) based on our prototype for color search in fashion. How I pitched it is that we (Imagga) are ready to buy it after the hackathon and/or eventually hire the people Later on it turned out that some of the jury members have perceived this as a very smart move from Imagga (kind of “hacking the system”), but one that decreases the value of the whole project in the context of the event. I definitely don’t agree with that and I’d say our team was very motivated and passionate, because it really believes in the idea, and not because of eventual quick cash gains.

Here are we, working on ColorFit.me it two consecutive  days, brainstorming and hacking like crazy:

ColorFit Team

We did an amazing job, pushing prototypes on all iPhone (native), Android (Adobe Air wrapper), and Windows Phone (native). Here is a video of them in action

 

The team also produced a wonderful presentation - http://colorfit.me/presentation/#/swsofia.
And we won! several prizes: 3rd place based on the jury vote, and 2nd-3rd place based on the audience vote. It’s still a nice performance though we think we should have won 1st place in both, and also the special prize from Microsoft for prototyping the app also in their platform in less than a day.

We are going to decide how to proceed with this in a few days and we do hope that you’ll be able to  have access to the first versions of the apps in the app stores quite soon.

The second hackathon was Photo Hack Day 4held in Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, April 6-7. The event went really good, and though we were partnering it remotely, it was quite busy for us -implementing several sugar features and tweaks based on customer demand
Happily, one of the teams that requested access to our APIs managed to integrate it in their hack ‘The Roll’, and it was featured as one of the eight honorable mentions in the The Next Web review of the event. Great job by the EyeEm team working on it!

There are a few more great hackathons coming in the next week(end)s – HackFMI and NASA International Space Apps Challenge 2013 – Sofia. What a month for startups and hackers!


Why do I need color search?

Why do you need color search functionality in your web site? Actually we believe that the color search is like the smart phone - you may haven't figured out that you can't live without it before you start using it for the first time ;).

If you have already identified the need on your own - please feel free to skip this blog post. However even for you there might be some interesting reasons and applications that you haven't thought of before:

  • For every service where the user experience and interaction are mainly about exploring images it's vital to have an easy and intuitive way to navigate amongst them. And browsing based on colors (for example via color palette) is very natural way of behavior that you can make possible by integrating multi-color search functionality in your web project.
    multi-color search
    Multi-color search

    Here is an idea how for example Pinterest could be even better service if they have had color search build in.

  • Of course people are still used to searching via keywords. And actually an automated color analysis of the images can help for this as well - by suggesting color names as tags for the images, so when people search for "red car" for example, cars that have been automatically tagged with the text tag "red" will be visible in the search results;
  • It's becoming common for the users to have a reference image and want to find something with that particular color presented in the reference. Color extraction and multi-color search can make this to happen immediately. This is especially useful if you can also search based on the colors of the main object in the image, disregarding the background - something that we have as a key feature our color extraction and search technologies:

    Color search by reference object color
    Color search by reference object color

And last but not least - the fact that you can integrate such functionality quite easy by using our awesome color extraction and multi-color search API should make it even more tempting to experiment and see how well this is going to work for you!

And what do YOU think? Have you figured out any good reasons why would anyone need such kind of functionality? We'd love if you share your ideas with us!


Seedhack - an awesome experience!

As we announced last week - we were preparing to participate as an API partner in the 3rd edition of Seedhack druing the upcoming weekend. And we did! :) That was a really awesome experience for Imagga. The event started in Friday evening with a lot of hackers and fashionists. Surprisingly or not, most probably becaue of the topic, this was the first hackathon I've participtated with over 40% female attendance.

Seedhack opening
Seedhack opening

Passionate opening by the Seedcamp's team, followed by several keynote speeches from Nick Perrett from HarperCollins Publishers, Nick Cust from NET-A-PORTER.COM and Devin Hunt from Lyst, who provided a lot of inspiration to the participants.

They were followed by API speakers from HarperCollins, ASOS, Google, Net-A-Porter, Imagga (us) and Paypal. In our 5 min API presentation I tried to clearly communicate what Imagga and our APIs are about. It went quite well and a lot of excited people come nearby to talk after :). The word about the event and Imagga even managed to reach New York - in about half an hour after the presentation I got my first email from there, and another one two hours later, regarding the fashion week held in NY at the same time.

The serious hacking started Friday night and continued heavily through the next two days:

Heavy seedhacking
Heavy "seedhacking"

Now, let me share a few numbers that made us feel quite inspired to drill more deeply in the fashion vertical as an appropraite application field for what we do:

  • During the three days of Seedhack we received 11 trial API requests from the "seedhackers": two right away during the API presentation in Friday, two more later in the evening, four more in Saturday, and three more in Sunday. Quite good coverage given that the participating teams were 21 in total;
  • Three of the teams came several times to talk to me for more details about integration ideas, technical details, and pricing;
  • One of the teams - INDELIBLE STYLE (project Colourtag.me) - actually managed to integrate the API during the first day of the weekend! Great job for this team about their passion to levarege on colors, and special "hacker applauses" to Mart Karu who implemented, debugged, and integrated a Ruby client for our color API in no time! He promised to publish it on GutHub in a few days, so you'll be able to enjoy a Ruby blue-print quite soon :)

    Mark Karu and team after a few hours of happy hacking :)
    Mark Karu and team after a few hours of happy hacking :)

Happily enough, exactly this project was one of the five recognized at the award ceremony in Sunday! They win the "Fit & Finish" award, most probably because of their fast execution, including the implementation of a prototype and shooting a promotional video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPuPKRAV2Sc featuring the brain behind the project - Jessica Healy.

Colourtag.me winning the Fit & Finish award

Now back on Imagga - in addition to the lots of trial requests and the succesfull API integration, from the numerous people that we talked to we got several very creative ideas for potential applications of our cropping and color search, and also some reasonable feature and tweak requests for the APIs. Thank you all, guys!

In conlusion - the event had very very positive atmosphere and was quite well organizated - no tension, everything went smoothly. It also turned out that it's great to have a particular vertical/topic/theme for an event like this - it brings like-minded hackers, mentors and partners and also allows for more objective judging. Well done Seedcamp! Carlos, Kirsten, Ricardo, and Vincent were very supportive through the whole event :) It was a pleasure for me to present imagga and to try to help to the eager hackers there, in your company. Good luck with the future Seedhacks!

Another job well done, so part of the Colourtag.me team and I decided to go for a beer. Luckily there were a few tables for tennis there, so we did our best to beat the locals :):

Table tennis battle with the locals :)

Awesome Seedhack weekend, really!!! :)

P.S.: I think that we managed to improve the public oppinion about Bulgaria at least a little bit this weekend. It should be more clear now that not all Bulgarians are low-qualified labor craving for UK social benefits ;)

P.S.2: You can take a look at the Seedcamp's team perspective of the event, including more details on all particapating and winning teams, here.

 


Imagga to partner Seedcamp's Seedhack to disrupt fashion and retail

We are very excited about going to the 3rd edition of Seedcamp's Seedhack this weekend! It's a great chance to help hackers disrupt fashion and retail with our color extraction & search and smart cropping APIs.

Photo from the previous (2nd) edition of Seedhack
(image source: Seedcamp's blog)

We truly believe that fashion and retail are really appropriate field for application of our technologies, here and here are some reasons why.

It's also a great recognition for Imagga to be listed as an API partner among some legendary brand names and cool startups like Google, HarperCollins, Net-A-Porter, Paypal, and Wonga.

Exctided about meeting all the hackers, API partners, sponsors and the event organizers quite soon!

Make sure to catch up when you are around, and attend the Imagga API presentation in Friday (Feb 8th), 6:45 pm at Campus London.

P.S.: Big thanks to LAUNCHub who made the right kind of introductions :)

 


Five arguments why color extraction and color search are awesome!

Having millions of images in your site is great, but how findable they really are?

We offer a fully automated service that extract color information from your images so people can discover them based on color. Here are several arguments on the awesomeness of our color extraction and color search API:

Color Extraction API
Color Extraction API
  • We offer the color extraction and color search technology as a service - you don’t need to install or host anything on your side, you simply make some lite HTTP requests to our servers in the cloud and they’ll do the job for you, returning the color information and/or the images with the specified colors in a fraction of the second;
  • Extracting precise color information, even for a few thousand of images, is something very time consuming for people to do, and it’s error prone as well. In comparison our service can precisely process hundreds of thousands of images in just a few hours so you can implement the color search functionality in your site in no time;
  • While being easy to integrate, the color extraction technology we offer is quite advanced - we can automatically separate the foreground and the background colors for you, so you can allow search for products/items with particular colors, discarding what are the colors at the background;
  • You can search not only by single color, but by a combination of up to five colors with different prominence when needed:
Multi-color search
Multi-color search
  • The pricing is purely based on actual usage. You don’t have to pay a setup fee, monthly subscription, or purchase an expensive license.

Already feel excited about it? Request a free trial API account here!


Five reasons why auto cropping is awesome!

Keep Calm and Start Cropping

Cropping sounds trivial, right? But how do you feel about the face, the body, or another important object in the image being cut in half when you generate square thumbnails to feature some of the images from your collection on the homepage of your site? Here are five reasons to love our smart cropping API:

  1. We fix the above mentioned issue by automatically identifying the visually most important parts of your images in order to preserve them when you need to crop in aspect ratio different than the original one;
  2. Our smart cropping and slicing technology is available as a service - you don’t need to install or host anything on your side, you simply make some lite HTTP requests to our servers in the cloud and they’ll do the job for you, returning the suggested smart cropping region;
  3. Selecting the right cropping, even for a few thousand of images, is very time consuming job for people to do, and it’s error prone as well. In comparison our service can precisely process hundreds of thousands of images in just a few hours so you can showcase precisely cropped images in no time;
  4. Оur pricing is purely based on actual usage. You don’t have to pay a setup fee, monthly subscription, or purchase an expensive license;
  5. People already love using our cropping tool Cropp.me (http://cropp.me) to auto-crop a few images for personal use. Imagine how helpful this can be in large scale for an image collection with thousands or millions of images

And a bonus one: you can get very creative, for example by showcasing really nice looking collages and listing of your images cropped in different sizes and still to be sure that the most visually important parts are well preserved no mater of the aspect ratio, thanks to the smart-cropping :)

Already feel excited about it? Request a free trial API account here!


Free trial access to our color and cropping APIs

We are very excited to announce that we just achieved a major milestone - we fully automated the process of creating trial API accounts for people who want try out our technologies immediately!

This comes along with the launch of our new website. You can use the API request form there to apply for free access to the color extraction and multi-color search and smart cropping and slicing APIs. Just a few clicks away from getting immediate access to the technologies:

API request link

Simply fill in your name, contact details and briefly mention how do you plan to use the API:

application formIn a few second you'll get a confirmation e-mail that we've received your request, and in less than an hour you'll receive another e-mail containing all API credentials and a PHP kit. You can use the kit as a blue-print for integratimg the technologies in your own web projects.

Even if PHP is not the platform of your choice - you can use the PHP kit and the API documentation as a reference how to do it in your own platform of choice.

In fact we (as a startup) are more than open for people willing to contribute. So if you use the APIs in another platform and you have already implemented a client - we will highly appreciate to share it with us and the community. Also, we are starting to hire soon, so this may be a big plus for those of you who decide to apply :)