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We've been peripherally interested in Riya, an image recognition slash visual search start-up since we first caught wind of it, but now they've really got our attention. Riya is now testing, which is basically a shopping search engine with a visual seach twist. "Basically" is a poor way to put it, however, because though the experience isn't exactly jaw-dropping, if you spend some time playing around with it, you can see the potential. is truly the first of its kind: there's no keywords here, just pure pixels. In its current alpha incarnation, allows you to browse the products in its catalog--shoes, handbags, jewelry, and watches--visually, meaning you can find an item you like and then find other items that look like it. If you like a certain aspect of an item--the toe on a shoe or the face on a watch, for example--you can highlight just that area and it will find items with similar features. You can also choose which aspects of your search are most important: color, shape, and pattern. While currently you can only search using images already in's library, Riya plans to add image upload features that, if the front page is any indication, will allow you to do thinks like upload a photo of a celebrity, highlight his wristwatch, and find it and similar watches around the web.

Like I said, isn't going to change online shopping today, but the groundwork is definitely there, and it does an impressive job of proving that Riya's image search technology really does work.

P.S. How long before Riya gets into the internet dating business? "Find men in your area that look like Brad Pitt..."

[Via TechCrunch]

Tags: image search, ImageSearch, like,, photo search, PhotoSearch, riya, search, shopping, visual search, VisualSearch