Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Google Acquires Physical World Connection Neven Vision

Google buying a PWC player Neven Vision isn't a suprise. I knew they were looking at their technology a while ago. I think you will see a rush now for some of the other players on the physical world connection list .

This is nice to see. Dr Neven and Alex Cory are great guys. Google is getting some forward thinking players. It also is saying that the race for physical world connection is heating up.

Neven was listed as one of the wireless companies to watch in 2006, and they have already landed major brands for mobile marketing

From C/Net Google "snaps" up Neven Vision

According to Google's blog, the search giant has bought Neven Vision, a small Santa Monica-based company that specializes in object and facial recognition technology.

Neven's technology is already being used more broadly. The company sells the technology for mobile marketing purposes in an application called iScout.

I took some pics of Neven's application at CTIA

It's possible with object and facial recognition software that can match images with those scanned into an Internet-connected database. A match can trigger a range of possible results, including promotions, ring tones, pricing, maps and search results.

I expect Yahoo to announce something soon that will enable them to become a mobile markting powerhouse

NTT DoCoMo has already been adopted by the world's leading mobile communications company.

Facial recognition software developed by Neven Vision will run on the types of microprocessors found in mobile phones.

In this way, Google could easily use this software to improve local search and advertising from cell phones, for example
.

Who's next on the shopping list?

There's one company I expect to be courted shortly.

I have to think Jeff Reed and what he calls his "visual Google" are the next likely target. There's a reason they just partnered with these guys .

While Neven Vision is great at reading biometric and objects, I think the 2d code will be the next "big thing" for mobile search, mobile info and mobile marketing.

Any company that has a 2d code reading software application for the mobile phone is a potential target right now in my opinion.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, if only we knew what Microsoft and Yahoo have been doing behind the scenes to counter this challenge! Guess we'll have to wait and see if they've done anything at all.

Anonymous said...

Mediaseek and Nextcode would be interesting 2D code acquisition candidates. (Mediaseek is on half the phones in Japan already.)

Scott Shaffer said...

I wouldn't be surprised to see NextCode get some interest from the big guys.

Their ConnexTo platform is one of the easiest and diverse to use for PWC.

Anonymous said...

The problem with 2d codes and QR codes, especially in the US market, is that the IP landscape is still very unclear. Just ask Scanbuy and NeoMedia, who have been slugging it out in court. Until that area is resolved, who will be winners in the space will remain very unclear...

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment about the IP issue being a major one.

As far as I can gather, Nextcode, for example, has no patents to its name. And there are players in the 2D space who DO have patents of great relevance. Neven Vision at least has some real IP, though its relevance is not entirely obvious to me.

Would Google be foolish enough to go with a company without IP, only to be sued for hundreds of millions (or more) later in the game?

One wonders.

Anonymous said...

I've raised this point a number of times.

Is there ANY reason to believe that Neven Vision's technology works, especially as it is scaled up to handle more than a trivial number of objects it might identify, ans especially given the limitations of a camera phone and how it gets used by the typical user?

It seems to me that the technology is nothing more than a species of AI, with all the problems AI has always exhibited.

I'll believe the technology when real live users can do a large variety of real live useful things with it, and not a moment before.

Scott Shaffer said...

Notice the ad for Mobile ID next to the post?

It's from Neven Vision, but no longer links to their site.

Anonymous said...

It goes to a google page, but gives an error on biometrics.html.

Anonymous said...

Having looked at Neven Vision's IP a bit, I can see why a company like Google might choose to pick it up, if it's going to buy someone in this space.

Neven Vision has a LOT of patents, and its earliest patent related to camera phones appears to have been filed Feb 2004 -- well over a year earlier than the first (only?) patent filed by Mobot.

Clearly, there's some depth in Neven Vision's IP.

How many players in the 2D code space offer any depth in IP? Without any IP protecting what they have done, how long could it possibly take for another company to imitate whatever they may offer? Where's the barrier to entry? And why buy a company with great legal exposure due to IP issues?

Anonymous said...

Do you truly think that IP matters in corporate strategy or is this just a hype? Personally I think that IP (usually in a form of a patent) is a publication of the company's best kept secrets. Smart companies and developers almost always find a way around patents.