With more and more players entering the mobile search game, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that Nokia is also thinking about starting their own mobile search service. Even big-hitter Google is just starting to develop mobile search platforms and is by no means a dominant force – leaving ample room for the likes of Nokia.
The cell phone manufacturer’s USPTO patent application sheds some light on their intentions. Nokia is planning a semantic visual search engine, which makes plenty of sense given their push in high-quality cameras for their mobile phones.
The visual search engine uses three process levels to extract semantic information from an image:
When analyzing the images, at first they are converted into a plurality of candidate low-level features (like shape, color and texture strength) and these features are extracted locally around salient points of the image.
Then a supervised learning approach is used to select prominent low-level features from the plurality of candidate low-level features. The prominent low-level features are associated with predefined object categories, that describe generic objects (e.g., cars, planes, etc.); parts of a personâ€™s body (e.g., faces), geographical landmarks (e.g., mountains, trees. etc.), or other items.
When a new item is to be categorized, the target item is converted into a plurality of multi-scale local features and then each local feature is matched with the prominent low-level features using a probabilistic model. So, if the target item has a face, then this feature will be matched accordingly to the other items having a face and the item will be categorized.
The user can search for images by entering keywords, keywords and template images or just image templates without keywords. Items that are similar to the input item are then provided to the user in response to the inquiry.
It might also be important to note that the patent application alludes to the semantic visual search algorithm being applied to audio clips. There is also reason to believe that Nokia is considering a web-based audio/visual semantic search engine. Look out Google! Semantic search is the future – are you ready?