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AdSense For Images Pixazza Rebrands As Luminate, Launches Platform For In-Image Apps

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Pixazza, a Google Ventures-backed photo tagging service that has been compared to an “AdSense for Images,” is rebranding as Luminate today, and debuting a new platform for in-image apps.

As we’ve written in the past, Pixazza allows publishers to identify, tag and match products found within online images on their sites and then link them back to the inventories of Pixazza’s network of advertisers. The service, which can be integrated in a site by adding a single line of code, allows consumers to browse the photos featured on a site and mouse over it to reveal information and pricing about similar products, and if desired, click to purchase.

Through the company’s network of publishers, Pixazza now reaches more than 150 million unique users per month, and is seeing a rate of 30 billion image views per year. Pixazza currently works with over 4,000 publishers, including US Weekly, Hearst Digital Media and Access Hollywood.

CEO Bob Lisbonne tells us that the rebanding of the company is an effort to convey that Luminate has a vision of making every image interactive, or luminous. Part of that vision is going beyond e-commerce as an engagement in an app, and providing other interactions within an image. Lisbonne explains to us that just as phones evolved from voice calls to smartphones with apps, images will soon provide more interactions beyond just views.

So when a consumer sees the Luminate icon in the corner of an image, it indicates that the image is interactive. Consumers can mouse into the image and choose from a variety of image apps. These could include the ability to share an image or link to Twitter, discover statistics about their favorite athletes, see where to purchase similar products to those featured in a photo, access more information about a particular event, read more content about the people or places featured in an image, listen to music or see a movie trailer related to an image.

The company;s applications will span a number of categories including commerce, information, social, organization, advertising, navigation, public service, and presentation. Currently, Luminate’s platform offers applications such as Twitter Share, Facebook Share, and Email Share apps that give consumers the power to select what they want inside an image and share it with others; an information app called Annotation that allows publishers to quickly and easily tag any spot within an image and add information relevant to that image; a commerce app called Products, which enables consumers to mouse over the image and interact with tags on the picture; and an Advertising app that offers publishers a way to place relevant advertisements within an image.

Luminate plans to roll out an API to developers to create apps for images in the near future.

The startup, which has raised nearly $20 million in funding, faces competition from Stipple, Image Space Media, GumGum and others.