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Tumblr has enlisted image-recognition startup Ditto Labs to help brands see how their stuff appears in pictures on the microblogging site, Mashable reports today. The news is interesting from a corporate perspective — another social service is becoming a place for brands to discover what’s going on in the world. But the news might be much more interesting than that.

And no, the fascinating part isn’t whether or not Tumblr will use Ditto’s technology to target ads to users based on the stuff in their pictures.

The more interesting question is whether Tumblr and its parent company, search giant Yahoo, believes in the power of analyzing pictures, potentially to improve its own services for searching, recommending, and doing other functions.

Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and even Google have made acquisitions or high-profile hires in this area in recent months. Now Tumblr is interested in at least one use of Ditto’s technology, following Kraft Macaroni and Cheese’s fascination with it.

Now it’s worth wondering if Ditto Labs might become so interesting that Yahoo will buy it, just as it’s bought image startups LookFlow and IQ Engines.

Then again, the collaboration might not be that big of a deal at this point.

“This is a Tumblr firehose partnership with Ditto, where Ditto can tap into the massive stream of images shared on Tumblr daily to help their clients understand visual conversations happening around their brands,” A Tumblr representative wrote in an email to VentureBeat.

A Ditto representative did not immediately respond to VentureBeat’s request for comment.


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