Its research labs have been working on a project codenamed “PENSIEVE” that promises to algorithmically construct digital address books from photographs of business cards and the people they represent.
While not production ready for at least another year, PENSIEVE will get rid of that stack of business cards sitting unhelpfully on your desk. Instead of chipmunking business cards away, PENSIEVE users can take photos of them with their camera phones upon receipt. Later, when they plug those phones into their computers, PENSIEVE will analyze the photos and extract contact information – name, phone number, address, etc. – and associate their data with any photos you took of people on location. That data gets integrated into your digital address book, making it searchable, shareable and generally more useful.
IBM won’t offer PENSIEVE directly to consumers; the company plans to distribute the service through its telco partners. Pricing details are also not available, since they are bound to be determined by the mobile providers themselves.
We’re told the service will sync with common address books (Outlook, etc). Let’s just hope the data doesn’t get into the wrong hands.