Delver Comes Out Of Stealth With a Twist on Social Search

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

What if a search engine knew who your friends were and delivered results based on their actions and content across the Web? Today at the DEMO conference, an Israeli startup called Delver (formerly Semingo) is coming out of stealth and announcing its upcoming launch as a semantic social graph search engine.

Delver is attempting to solve two key search-related problems. The first is that current search engines do not take into account the identity of the searcher. For example, a teenager and a senior citizen performing the same query will get exactly the same results. The second is that current search engines do not allow users to search for information created and referenced by their own social graph. This is an important point because, let’s face it, social networking doesn’t offer much functional value beyond allowing people to connect with one another. The fact that you have 300 friends on Facebook, 200 on MySpace and 100 connections on LinkedIn doesn’t actually help you locate information. This is where Delver comes in. Search for “New York,” and the results that will pop up will be blog posts from people you know that mention or are about New York, or Flickr photos, YouTube videos, Delicious bookmarks, and the like.

‘100% accurate’ face recognition algorithm announced

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Psychology researchers at Glasgow University say they have increased the accuracy of automated face recognition to 100%. If the claims are true, this development will have far-reaching consequences for privacy and security in modern society.

Mike Burton, Professor of Psychology at Glasgow, and lecturer Rob Jenkins say they achieved their hugely-improved results by eliminating the variable effects of age, hairstyle, expression, lighting, different camera equipment etc. This was done by producing a composite “average face” for a person, synthesised from twenty different pictures across a range of ages, lighting and so on.

According to the two researchers:

We modelled human familiarity by using image averaging to derive stable face representations from naturally varying photographs. This simple procedure increased the accuracy of an industry standard face-recognition algorithm from 54 per cent to 100 per cent, bringing the robust performance of a familiar human to an automated system.

The Glaswegian psychologists may be hot stuff at face recognition, but plainly aren’t engineering types - an engineer who said he’d produced a system with 100 per cent reliability would be laughed out of the room. In this case the duo mean that their system got it right every time in their tests, not that they have actually increased its accuracy to 100 per cent.

Sony Ericsson cuts deals with 10 music labels

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson said it had signed deals with 10 music labels to add content to its PlayNow service, which lets users download music via their mobile phones.

Sony Ericsson, owned by Ericsson and Sony Corp., said the deals added 5 million new tracks to its catalogue.

The venture said in a statement late on Sunday it had signed deals with Sony BMG, Warner Music Group, EMI, The Orchard, IODA, The PocketGroup, Hungama, X5Music, Bonnier Amigo and VidZone.

Study shows eBay buyers save billions of dollars

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Buyers save billions of dollars each year bidding on eBay auctions, according to a new study that quantifies the benefits online consumers enjoy over and above what is derived by sellers, or eBay itself.

The independent research by two statisticians from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business found buyers saved $7 billion that they might have otherwise been ready to pay in a study of eBay auction behavior in 2003.

Applying the same analysis to 2004 buyer data, consumers saved $8.4 billion, said Wolfgang Jank, one author of the study. A linear projection of the research findings would mean consumers saved around $19 billion during 2007, Jank said.

Amazon says will begin int’l roll-out of its MP3 store

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Online retailer Amazon.com Inc said on Sunday it will begin an international roll-out this year of its digital music store that offers songs without copy-protection technology known as digital rights management.

Amazon said it is the only retailer to offer DRM-free MP3s from all four major music labels as well as thousands of independent labels.

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