Google was on the brink of buying Like.com's parent company Riya, a facial recognition and tagging company, in 2005 but retreated.
Riya folded in 2009, but by then it had launched Like.com, an image search engine. Generally, image search engines only allowed text queries and then would search text attached to images to deliver results. But Like.com leveraged on Riya's facial recognition technology and allowed both text and image queries.
In order to deliver results based on image queries, Like.com would convert an image into a mathematical representation of an image using 10,000 variables, and if sufficient identical variables were found, it would deliver the results.
Google's buy of Like.com, however, does not fit the bill with other purchases like Jambool and Slide, both focusing on social networking and social games segment.
In April 2010, Google had bought a visual search start-up Plink for an undisclosed sum-an obscure company behind PlinkArt, a visual recognition app for Android that is able to recognize artworks and paintings simply by analyzing images.
Google can certainly leverage visual-search for its ad-based revenue model delivering images rather than merely text. Also, Google can combine these features with its Android-based application Google Goggles. Goggles allows customers to use pictures taken with a mobile phone to search the web, a perfect blend for Like.com's technology.
Even Google's Street View program can be coupled with visual search technology to deliver better GPS results.
Nonetheless, the purchase perfectly fits Google's overall strategy to build products without any business model, and then after the launch, it tries to weave a revenue model around the product.
International Business Times, The Global Business News Leader
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