Mobile visual search – GetFugu or get Google?

Visual search on mobile phones - GetFugu or get Google?As mobile continues to develop, the world of search on mobiles is heating up. Recently, Google launched Google Goggles, an experiment from the search giant in visual search. The Lab reached out to their partner GetFugu to find out how Google’s release changes the landscape in respect to GetFugu’s visual and audio search product. Rich Jenkins, EVP of Biz Dev and Co-founder got back to us with these answers.

The Lab: To what extent does GetFugu see Google Goggles as a threat?

Frankly, we don’t see them as a threat but more as an affirmation of the value of our platform and the consumer-appropriateness of our technology.  The Google environment is really the same old search results environment simply reached another way.

Brands still have to fight through all the clutter just differently.  Getfugu gives brands and consumers a direct link to each other and circumvents the noise inherent in search results.  We like to call it “Direct Connect”.  Our technology is unique in the way we help brands and consumers share in a fun, dynamic and interesting environment. I suppose if you want an antiseptic consumer experience then they are a threat.

The Lab: What are the key differentiators between GetFugu’s solution and Google Goggles in terms of the underlying technology?

GetFugu: The technology is pretty different and I think that difference is significant both short-term and long term. Without getting too technical Google really is just OCR, with the phone being the output device. In other words the images are scanned or converted into digits and those digits are bounced off of their database looking for the numerical match. The image is dumped and replaced with the numbers. That’s how they get to be so fast. Getfugu on the other hand harnesses and manipulates the image across an array of categories, holds that image and compares it to images in the database. That’s why we believe in the future our technology will prove out over Goggles because you need to hold onto that base image to 3D. We are geared for today and tomorrow. I also think a key component is we are on the iPhone, Blackberry and Android platforms.

The Lab: What are the main reasons a brand or advertiser would want to participate with GetFugu’s solution rather than just encourage use of Google Goggles?

GetFugu: Getfugu is designed to enable the direct interaction between the consumer and the brand – at the exact moment and location the consumer is seeking out that conversation.   If I am Home Depot in a Google environment I have to pay and pay dearly to be at the top of the stack of 11,100,000 other responses.  With Getfugu, if a consumer  takes a picture or says Home Depot, they go directly to the environment Home Depot has created for its consumers, at a fraction of the costs.  Why pay to support Google when HD can bypass them and spend it on themselves or their consumers.  Also, we have the ability to offer up our SDK so Home Depot can create its own mobile search experience.  Is Google giving you that?  GPS, video, unique opportunities are all over the place with Google.  With Getfugu, when a customer comes to you, you can give them the entire breadth of your offerings, content, unique opportunities while they are interested in you and not through multiple searches.  You’ve got the eyeballs keep them there.

The Lab: In terms of the user’s experience, why would users prefer to use GetFugu rather than the Google Goggles app?

GetFugu: Why wouldn’t they?  I mean Getfugu is as much about the consumer experience as it is about providing the result they want.  Time is valuable and consumers want what they want when they want it.  Through our “See it”, “Say it”, “Get it” functionality, if they see a movie poster and use our application then they are interested in it or they would not have made the effort to try and connect.  Once you have intent followed up with action, the consumer would much prefer an experience that not only returns movie’s website but easy to find video’s for the movie, local theater locations, a discount, connection to fun facts about the movie…. Really the entire breadth of a consumers interest in ONE place.

The Lab: Describe a scenario where GetFugu would outshine Google Goggles.

GetFugu: With so many ways we outshine them already, it’s hard to pick one to be honest.  I think in almost every category the Getfugu application is superior.  We are carrier agnostic so there will be no fighting between who can and who can’t be served.  You see it with cable carriers and telco carriers.  Did I mention we are on the iPhone, Blackberry and Android platforms. Every day we have developers expanding the universe of platforms our application will work on. We are far more responsive to the needs of our clients.  We are always looking to improve the consumer experience and really make the functionality for the consumer.

The Lab: What about a scenario where Google Goggles is better suited?
GetFugu: They are great at amassing large amounts of data and stacking them up in front of a consumer.  I guess if that’s what you want then they win.  Problem is nobody else wins. Brands still don’t control the user experience and consumers still have to fight through it all, multiple times to get in front of all the possibilities the brands have to offer. We don’t change consumer behavior just enhance it by using the phone just as they do. Speak into it or take a picture with, all traits well established. Did I mention we are on the iPhone, Blackberry and Android platforms.

The Lab: What can we expect to see from GetFugu in the next twelve months that will further differentiate your solution from Google’s ongoing voice and visual search efforts on mobile?

GetFugu: Future upgrades will be include real-time search results to the device  – allowing users to simply point their view finder at images to receive brand relevant results.

We’ll also be more actively incorporating GetFugu’s “hotspotting” technology in the search results.  Hotspotting is the only mobile e-commerce platform that allows users to interact with specific items within video streams in real-time.    With Hotspotting, when a video shows a model walking across the screen, users can touch her shirt to buy or get more information that shirt; touch her boots to buy or get more information on those boots.

GetFugu will add Celebrity Hotspotting which will combine the video Hotspotting technology with the personalized shopping lists and recommendations of the celebrities involved. The net of all this is to make it a brand / consumer experience that simply does not exist with Goggles.

We are also working on a program around personalized “tag creation.”  Consumer have their own individuality in many forms but now we are bringing them the ability to create their own brand or “tag”. The consumer can take their “tag” and add it to Facebook, Twitter, videos or come to our online store and insert their tag onto T-shirts, mugs, whatever.
Our teams are also working on cutting-edge, facial recognition algorithms. Because our application is not just utilitarian like Googles but also as a platform for brand and consumer self-expression, we feel that facial recognition is a great next area to be in.