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From EyeEm, Technology to See and Tag Photos


nytimes articleThe following is an excerpt from Mark Scott | September 18, 2015 | Nytimes.com |

A little-known German start-up may have just made it a lot easier to search for photos online.

EyeEm, a photo-sharing service started in 2011 that has drawn parallels to Instagram, announced new technology in Brooklyn on Friday that uses a sophisticated algorithm and machine learning to analyze the details of online photos.

The technology, called EyeVision, automatically scans images and tags them with certain keywords, from “landscape” and “New York” to the perceived emotions of people in each photo, which makes them easier to find through web searches.

While other companies have tried similar techniques to categorize online images, the German start-up’s efforts — which comes after roughly three years of development — are based on analyzing millions of photos already shared on EyeEm’s photo-sharing social network. The company has roughly 15 million users compared to about 300 million on Instagram.

Combined with the company’s machine-learning techniques, EyeEm’s search algorithm adapts over time to better understand what is part of each uploaded image, making it easier to find specific photos online, according to the company’s chief executive.

“We’re teaching the algorithm to identify what is a beautiful photo,” said Florian Meissner, the chief executive of EyeEm, which has raised money from influential West Coast backers, including Valar Ventures, a company backed by Peter Thiel. “We’ve proved that our technology works. It could be applied to almost all photos online.”

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