We were just talking about niches in the online photo space still available for entrepreneurs to exploit.

The New Scientist has a piece about an emerging technology being developed by Marc Davis of Yahoo’s Berkeley research lab here that will allow people with camera phones to have the subjects in their photos automatically identified and labeled within each picture — by using a mixture of facial-recognition technology and network-location detection. Article doesn’t mention anything about it being integrated with the Web. But hooking this up with…

…online tagging would seem an obvious thing to do.

The concept is as follows:

[It is] based on a central server that registers details sent by the phone when the photo is taken. These include the nearest cellphone mast, the strength of the call signal and the time the photo was taken.

The system also identifies the other Bluetooth-enabled cellphones within range of the photographer and combines this with the time and place information to create a shortlist of people who might be in the picture. This can then be combined with facial-recognition algorithms to identify the subjects from the shortlist.

Facial recognition software on its own can only identify people with 43 per cent accuracy from the grainy shots taken by camera phones, but in tests Davis and his team found that by combining it with context information the system could correctly identify people 60 per cent of the time. The context information can also be combined with image-recognition software to identify places within photos.

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