Ukrainian Startup Company Viewdle Will Define Facial Recognition Software

>> Monday, January 26, 2015

Facial recognition software is becoming a big deal in social networking and mobile apps. It helps sites like Facebook tag the right people in posts, it’s making virtual reality a plausible thing and is pushing the limits of what video games can do.

Cutting Edge Facial Recognition Software

One of the biggest upcoming names in facial recognition software, Viewdle has been making waves over the past few years. The Ukrainian startup company that specializes in facial recognition and augmented reality was purchased by Google in 2012 for around $30 to $45 million USD. Initially, Motorola made a bid to purchase Viewdle, but once Google bought Motorola out, it decided to make the bid instead.

Viewdle began in 2006 in the Ukraine. The company is now based out of Silicon Valley, with operations in Europe, South America and the Ukraine. In 2008, it won the LeWeb startup competition, and in the past, it received funding from other big names, such as Best Buy Capital, Blackberry and more technology-based firms. An anonymous donor also gave Viewdle between $250k and $500k to get it going.

SocialCamera, ThirdEye and More

The company has multiple apps out already for Android and iOS, like SocialCamera, ThirdEye and others. Viewdle has acquired multiple patents relating to facial recognition not only to play it safe but also to make its mark on the industry. In addition to its focus on facial recognition, Google and Motorola have interest in the company and its “pattern recognition” software, as well. This technology can identify details such as gestures, age, smiles and other human characteristics. For example, it could easily distinguish between an adult and a child.

After Google purchased Viewdle in 2012, the CEO of Viewdle, Laurent Gil, left the company with rumors pointing to him taking on an executive role at an unknown company. After Gil left, another long-time senior member of Viewdle took over, Jason Mitura.

Will Viewdle Succeed?

Some people are calling facial recognition software a potential breach of privacy, but Mitura explained that Viewdle’s algorithms are only carried out within the device, thus never being transported to a server for processing. He pointed out that computer-based processing such as Apple’s iCloud, or cloud-based ones like Facebook are the ones that people should have concerns over.

One can assume that Google is looking to utilize Viewdle’s facial and pattern recognition software for its Android lines, or even Google+. Viewdle put in roughly 15 years of research and three years of production to make this technology come to life, which is capable of near-instant visual analysis. At face value, Google could use Viewdle to do what Facebook has done—photo tagging—but it’s always possible that the tech giant has more planned for this innovative technology.

Since 2012, the volume of venture capital put into Ukrainian tech startups has decreased dramatically. Time will tell if luck gave Viewdle a chance or if its amazing technology is what made it shine and catch the eye of major companies. Not much has been mentioned of Viewdle in the past few years, but with a company as secretive as Google, it usually means that something big is in the works.


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