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Artificial intelligence that can detect faces and images is typically used for security systems. Now, similar technology is being applied to the most practical situations: How to find that piece of jewelry or shoe that’s hard to describe., the first visual search engine for products, launched this week. It’s a service that helps shoppers find products based on images rather than SKUs (stock keeping units). It's akin to showing a photo to a salesperson at a store and saying, "Show me all the products that look like this." It sure beats poor attempts at describing the ideal item to a salesperson.

Basically, is the next evolution of comparison-shopping engines, such as Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Froogle, eBay’s (NASDAQ:EBAY), EW Scripps’ (NYSE:SSP) Shopzilla or, and the and the next evolution in image search offered by the portals and search engines, Google, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), Microsoft’s Live and InterActiveCorp’s (NASDAQ:IACI) is a product offering from, a startup whose CTO and co-founder, Burak Goturk, specialized in computer vision technology and has filed for two dozen facial-recognition patents. “For the first time you can say, I want something to look like that,” said Riya’s other co-founder Munjal Shah, who is also CEO of the two-year-old company. “ looks at all these other items and compares, shape, color and texture.”

Watch my interview with Shah and look out for my Net Sense column Thursday, which will be an expanded commentary on and visual search:

Source: Visual Shopping Engine To Challenge Incumbents