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Like.com – Find products that look a like

Riya, the face recognition technology company in it’s new avatar (called Like.com) vows to lure the fashion conscious females who want to buy products which look-a-like the one they saw a celebrity with.

Like.com leverages Riya’s image recognition platform and it’s interesting to note that Riya paid $100,000 for the Like.com URL!!

Infact, a couple of months back it was rumored that Riya was pretty close to being acquired by Google (Economic Times’s article), but then the rumor died off after Google’s Neven vision acquisition.

I have been Riya’s beta user for quite some time and well, I stopped using Riya since I didn’t really see much of value in that. Probably there were more of us who felt the same.
And that’s when the CEO, Munjal Shah (also the ex-founder of Andale which later sold majority stakes to Vendio) realized that Riya.com will not go that far — and the result is a very niche segment technology product that purely focuses on women fashion.

As Munjal Shah explains in his blog:

“Riya 2.0 would help most in hard to describe items for which searching inside photos was most important. Objects that had this property tended to be soft goods like clothing, jewelry, handbags, shoes, home and garden, etc. Looking at Hitwise we realized that while there were $15-$30B worth of these items sold on the Web, almost 65% of the buyers for these items were women.”

Though there are other players in the market (Shopwiki.com, Become.com,uGenie.com), Like’s visual appeal steals the show.

How does Like.com works?

“Like.com is the first true visual search engine, where the contents of photos
are used to search and retrieve similar items… Like.com utilizes our Likeness Technology ™ to create a digital signature that describes the photo’s contents and enables a more accurate search for similar looking items and products.”

For now, users can browse thru’ the celebrity pictures, zero in on products of their interest and find similar products for sale. Like has partnered with Getty images (for acquiring celebrity images) as well as 200 online merchants to keep the shop running.
In future, Like will allow users to upload their pictures and search for similar looking products.

What’s unique about Like.com is that apart from it’s technologically advanced image search (their query takes care of textual meta data as well as ‘visual signature’), the targeted market is very well-defined (young,tech savvy, strong opinions on their choice of clothes, not really spend thrifts and of course fashion freaks).

Like it or not, the women fashion market is pretty much driven by fashion divas/celebrities and you very often hear them scream *I-wanna-be-Like-that-only*!
And Like.com’s present inventory of celebrity pics is a damn intelligent step (otherwise they would have to wait for users to upload their pics – which is a time dependent process).
Even the launch is perfectly timed as Christmas/Thanksgiving is just around the corner.
Smart ass these guys are!

Having spent quite a good amount of time on the site, I must say that these guys have built some damn good set of features. One that I liked the most is a price slider to filter your search. They could have implemented it otherwise (read *conventionally*), but it’s all about the sexiness factor and Like.com delivers it well.

What’s fantastic about Riya’s face recognition platform is the ability to verticalize any sort of image search application and build a business model around it.
Isn’t this called as Lateral Thinking?

What’s not so great about Like.com?
What looks like a premium/fashion site, will eventually become a commodity when the general user starts uploading their product pictures and will look for *best deal* in the marketplace. And Like.com, to me isn’t geared to be a free marketplace (free entry/exit for sellers).

Well, how about marrying Like.com and uGenie – newly found startup which claims to get the best deal?
Oh well, call an Investment Banker!!

Read: Munjal Shah’s blog | Scoble’s coverage | Techcrunch’s coverage

Filed under: Like,uGenie

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