April 3, 2006 10:28 PM PDT

Pixsy unveils visual Web search

A picture can be worth a thousand words, but an RSS feed is worth a million pictures.

That's the virtual promise of Pixsy, a visual search engine that scours syndication feeds (in the format of Really Simple Syndication) for up-to-date images and then makes them searchable.

On Tuesday, the company will relaunch its engine with a revolving repository of millions of thumbnail images, which are drawn from photos and videos on sites ranging from The New York Times to YouTube.

"Anywhere there's an RSS feed, we consume it, extract an image...and make it searchable," said Chase Norlin, founder of the San Francisco-based company.

As opposed to search giant Google, which retrieves relevant pages from billions of Web sites, Pixsy hones in on the freshest images from publishers, Norlin said. "So you can now explore the Web visually."

For example, visitors can click a New York Times logo on Pixsy to see a collection of the newspaper's latest photos, which are then linked to news stories on the Times Web site. People can also type "George Clooney" in the search box to see photos of the Academy Award-winning actor, linked to all the latest stories about him.

The timing is apt. Multimedia is an increasingly large part of a reader's diet on the Web. Image search was the fastest-growing form of search on popular sites such as Google, Yahoo and MSN in the last year, up 91 percent from February 2005 to February 2006, according to a report from researcher Nielsen/NetRatings issued Monday.

Pixsy, a privately held company with four employees, officially launched its site last July. It had difficulty aggregating images, however, because the technology relied on XML feeds with a limited number of partners. (Norlin would not disclose the site's traffic.) The service now pulls images from hundreds of RSS feeds, according to Norlin, and that number is growing hourly, he said.

The site, which is built with AJAX technology, will collect a thumbnail image from an RSS feed automatically and then associate words, or metadata, with that image based on the news or information from where it came. Pixsy then uses that data to associate images with search terms.

Still, publishers could grumble over use of their images, even in the form of thumbnails. Pixsy does not have partnerships with publishers from which it draws, but rather relies on the inherent marketing push of RSS feeds. Norlin said he believes that publishers will be pleased with the traffic.

For now, Pixsy makes money through advertising and affiliate partnerships. For example, if an image seen on Pixsy drives traffic to a site that sells a poster of the image, it would collect a small fee. In the future, Norlin said, the company envisions licensing its visual search engine to other companies or publishers.

See more CNET content tagged:
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3 comments

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This is a great concept.
Also coming soon is a visual virtual search engine called SmartAssSearch.com
Posted by ccisat1dxj (14 comments )
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PIXSY Vs. VeZoom Online Search Heats up
Pixsy meet VeZoom. We don't know eachother but I am sure we will shortly. We like what you offer. Check out our latest Online Video Toy called MyVeZoom.

We invite you to visit myVeZoom (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.vezoom.com/myVeZoom.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.vezoom.com/myVeZoom.htm</a>), and test drive the new myVeZoom engine before we announce it to the general public next week. In test trials the response has been extremely positive. The myVeZoom personal video engine saves users the daily hassle of trying to find what online video interests them. Your myVeZoom page becomes a custom tailored video channels experience that updates dynamically. You can even create your own channel on the fly by entering a keyword. Instantly your channel is generated right before your eyes. MyVeZoom is YOUR video WHEN and WHERE you want it. Once set-up, myVeZoom becomes one-stop access to see your video favorites without searching.

Currently myVeZoom offers over 60 online video channels. The usual suspects are here; YouTube, CNN, ESPN, Yahoo! and Google as well as some more obscure video sites such as Stupid Video, Video Spotter, and AniBoom. Users select the channels from a list of available category options, and then personalize the layout of the page by dragging and dropping their favorites into position. MyVeZoom continuously monitors over 18 million hours of online video for videos of relevance, providing new content for the user based on their favorite selected channels.
Posted by alansherin (2 comments )
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Re Pixsy unveils visual Web search
Some may find it a great idea, but when you find your images that are All Rights Reserved i.e.

You may NOT COPY, DISTRIBUTE, DISPLAY or perform the work, make derivative works, make commercial use of the work for any purpose WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT from the author.

On the site and also listed as Free Stock Photographs, then it becomes just another site scraping the web for to line its pockets.

There is a discussion on the Fotothing boards about this at the moment.

It also seems there email contact addresses are active ATM.
Posted by dalgarvenbooks (2 comments )
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