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Getty Images’ PicScout boosts its image recognition and tracking tools
One new offering helps businesses better employ their images on the web, and the other tracks images for individuals.
Getty Images’ Israel-based subsidiary, PicScout, harnesses visual recognition for online tracking of images, and it has now released two new tools to boost its capabilities. One, called Insights for Business, helps brands and agencies place images online, and the other, Insights for Everyone, lets individuals track the online use of their photos.
Previously, PicScout’s business was primarily focused around making sure that brands’ and agencies’ images were only used online for licensed purposes.
It tracked metadata that accompanies images and employed visual recognition to “fingerprint” the images so they could be automatically recognized even if they were altered.
Typically, PicScout General Manager Uri Lavi told me, a customer would provide a library of images, and PicScout would return a report on where they were being used online. License enforcement was up to the customer. Although it’s a Getty Images subsidiary, PicScout works with outside customers.
Now, the company has added artificial intelligence-driven deep learning, which helps provide more than visual recognition for tracking.
For Insights for Business, PicScout automatically analyzes the customers’ images in the context of its surrounding text and itemizes such attributes as the age and gender of the target audience, the activity shown (such as baseball) or specific objects in the image (like a plate of spaghetti). The customer then receives a report about suggested websites, blogs and locations in social media where those images will generate the biggest marketing bang.
As a typical use case, Lavi mentioned an unnamed alcohol company that sponsored a real-world bartending event. PicScout’s analysis of the promotional photos from the event determined that images taken by attendees were being shared more widely than the company’s.
So, PicScout helped to expand the brand’s reach by recommending the kinds of photos the alcohol company should take and where they would best share them, in order to complement the popularity of the user-generated ones.
In part, Lavi said, that’s accomplished by insight provided by the platform’s AI, which determines which visual elements in the user-generated images were attracting the most attention.
The other new product, Insights for Everyone, is what Lavi calls “a skinnier version” of the company’s earlier tracking service, but for individuals.
The individual customer uploads images, and the platform determines where they are being shown online, as well as such factors as the most shared image or the one that has sparked the most online conversation. One use case, he suggested, might be parents wanting to know how the images taken and shared by their kids are being used online. Pricing for the service starts at $9/monthly.
Since the services are new, Lavi said his company doesn’t yet have stats on how effective they are. While there are other visual tracking firms, like GumGum, he said they focus on ads or the individual images, while PicScout utilizes big data and analyzes a library of images to give broader recommendations.