Kooaba-Visual Google can recognize one object among millions of objects in one second

The Zurich information technology boom has been led by incoming international firms, but one homegrown enterprise is bucking the trend with an innovative product. The founders of Kooaba rejected the IT start-up paradise of Silicon Valley in favor of Zurich to initiate their ambitious project of building an image based visual Google search engine. The Federal Institute of Technology spin-off company was set up by Herbert Bay and Till Quack three years ago and is now entering a critical commercial phase. Kooaba connects users with an array of multi-media information associated to the digital images they feed into the system. Users can take photographs of objects with mobile phones and receive useful information through the tool .Kooaba currently has around eight million images in its database, mainly of books, CDs, DVDs and Games. But the application could soon be used to find additional information on newspaper articles and even, in future, for landmarks, buildings and museum exhibits.

The concept has been used in a variety of advertising and marketing campaigns. Kooaba teamed up with EMI record label and a Swiss newspaper to help promote the launch of Kylie Minogue’s album “X”. Users took pictures of the album cover in the newspaper and could download a ring tune from the single 2 hearts.In June the company signed its first long term contract with Swiss price comparison website Comparis. The next technological project for the company is to connect its tool with print media, so that readers that input a digital image of a story can gain access to a range of extra information on the subject, including video and audio clips.