Failed Experiment 1 – Visual Search

We wanted to create a product discovery application. The final idea was to create a mobile application which can take a picture of an item and the applications should give more info about the product including online prices.

The main use case was that you are in best buy looking at a new camcorder, buy taking a picture with your smartphone to get reviews, prices, your friends’ opinion in real-time or near real-time. Imagine the use of this same app for a teenager when she is trying to decide on a prom dress.

Anyway, our research into visual search did not provide any real results. Few attempts to license some not so perfect technologies also did not pan out. So we scaled down to create an app to only ask your friends, strangers part without the visual search.

PalCast was the result. It allows folks to send an MMS or web interface with a question to get feedback from web visitors and facebook friends. It had a facebook app along with web app. It looks like it was DoA. We might try to go at it once again with improved usability and clear focus with an iphone app.

Visual search is still some time away. Creating it scratch looks scary as more competitors like Nokia ( got a bunch of patent applications) and google ( They acquired already) are getting into this space. We will see.

Anyway, Lesson learned – half heartened projects lead to less than half of results. Let me know if you have any ideas on the direction of Palcast or on the overall concept.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *