Media & Entertainment

Visual Search App CamFind Passes 1M Downloads, Makes Its API Public


CamFind, the visual search app that wants to be a faster and more accurate alternative to Google Goggles, recently hit two milestones. Its iOS app just crossed a total of one million downloads (an Android version will be released in two months) and its API is now available for other developers to download on Mashape.

The app’s creators, Dominik Mazur and Bradford Folkens, say they made CamFind’s API available in response to requests from other developers who wanted an image recognition back-end for their apps. Many developers want to use CamFind’s search technology for shopping comparison services, but there are many other possible use cases. For example, students have used CamFind on field trips to identify and learn about plants. The app reads search results out loud, so travelers take a picture of an item and learn what it is called in different languages. You can take a picture of a restaurant’s sign to pull up Yelp reviews and photos of its dishes. Mazur and Folkens are also excited about developers using CamFind’s API to create apps for wearable tech like Google Glass.

The duo’s startup, Image Searcher, Inc., currently has two apps available for download: CamFind and TapTapSee, which is made for visually-impaired people. CamFind and TapTapSee have processed 6 million search requests and 2.5 million search requests, respectively.

Image Searcher, Inc. was founded in September 2012 after Mazur and Folkens, who met while studying computer science and mathematics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, decided to embark on their first venture capital funded startup (their first startup, which they ran for 10 years, was called Net Ideas). They decided to work on mobile visual search products in order to leverage their search experience and because they believed they could build a better alternative to Google Goggles.

CamFind combines proprietary image recognition technology with a team of people in the Philippines who tag images with keywords to achieve what the founders claim is a 90% accuracy rate. “Crowdsourced image tags identifies the 80% of images that algorithms can’t recognize, and is the key to CamFind’s success,” says Mazur.

“As people take more pictures, the technology only improves,” says Mazur. “State-of-the-art technology for search by computer vision is still only good at recognizing 20% of the objects photographed. We can answer 95 out of 100 images taken, so we’re still very far ahead.”

I tested CamFind and Google Goggle to compare them for speed and accuracy. I found CamFind sometimes takes up to 8 seconds to identify an object and produce results. Unlike Google Goggles, however, the app almost always comes back with accurate answers. Google Goggles frequently told me it didn’t recognize my target even with a clear photo.
CamFind screenshot
Users spend an average of one minute and 33 seconds per session on CamFind, during which they visit about five screens. The app monetizes through contextual advertising through Yahoo, and The app became profitable three months after launching on April 7, say Mazur and Folkens. CamFind’s cost-per-query is about 1.5 cents and it currently makes up to 3 cents per search by serving up results that focus on price comparison.

“We knew that in order for this to be profitable, we can’t just have generic banner ads and display ads. We had to be relevant and related to the picture taken. If someone takes a picture of a Sony DVD player at Wal-mart, they probably want to see if they can find it cheaper online,” says Mazur.

Image Searcher, Inc. released TapTapSee on October 11, 2012, gaining users for the app by meeting with advocacy organizations. In March 2013, TapTapSee was named App of the Month by the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB). A Kickstarter project was launched for CamFind before its launch in April to help it gain publicity against search giants like Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Mazur and Folkens have been working on search engines since they first met in college 10 years ago. The first product they built was a site search engine called JRank, which was built as a tool for Web developers that wanted to use an HTML code to embed a search box on their site. Future plans for Image Searcher, Inc. include making CamFind more social by integrating it with social networking platforms and letting users give permission for their queries to appear in a stream of trending searches. Image Searcher, Inc. has already landed $1.7 million in seed funding from 16 angel investors and is currently looking to raise a $5 million Series A fund.

More TechCrunch

The spam reached Bluesky by first crossing over two other decentralized networks: Mastodon and Nostr.

The ‘vote Trump’ spam that hit Bluesky in May came from decentralized rival Nostr

Welcome to TechCrunch Fintech! This week, we’re looking at the continued fallout from Synapse’s bankruptcy, how Layer wants to disrupt SMB accounting, and much more! To get a roundup of…

There’s a real appetite for a fintech alternative to QuickBooks

The company is hoping to produce electricity at $13 per megawatt hour, which would be more than 50% cheaper than traditional onshore wind.

Bill Gates-backed wind startup AirLoom is raising $12M, filings reveal

Generative AI makes stuff up. It can be biased. Sometimes it spits out toxic text. So can it be “safe”? Rick Caccia, the CEO of WitnessAI, believes it can. “Securing…

WitnessAI is building guardrails for generative AI models

It’s not often that you hear about a seed round above $10 million. H, a startup based in Paris and previously known as Holistic AI, has announced a $220 million…

French AI startup H raises $220M seed round

Hey there, Series A to B startups with $35 million or less in funding — we’ve got an exciting opportunity that’s tailor-made for your growth journey! If you’re looking to…

Boost your startup’s growth with a ScaleUp package at TC Disrupt 2024

TikTok is pulling out all the stops to prevent its impending ban in the United States. Aside from initiating legal action against the U.S. government, that means shaping up its…

As a US ban looms, TikTok announces a $1M program for socially driven creators

Microsoft wants to put its Copilot everywhere. It’s only a matter of time before Microsoft renames its annual Build developer conference to Microsoft Copilot. Hopefully, some of those upcoming events…

Microsoft’s Power Automate no-code platform adds AI flows

Build is Microsoft’s largest developer conference and of course, it’s all about AI this year. So it’s no surprise that GitHub’s Copilot, GitHub’s “AI pair programming tool,” is taking center…

GitHub Copilot gets extensions

Microsoft wants to make its brand of generative AI more useful for teams — specifically teams across corporations and large enterprise organizations. This morning at its annual Build dev conference,…

Microsoft intros a Copilot for teams

Microsoft’s big focus at this year’s Build conference is generative AI. And to that end, the tech giant announced a series of updates to its platforms for building generative AI-powered…

Microsoft upgrades its AI app-building platforms

The U.K.’s data protection watchdog has closed an almost year-long investigation of Snap’s AI chatbot, My AI — saying it’s satisfied the social media firm has addressed concerns about risks…

UK data protection watchdog ends privacy probe of Snap’s GenAI chatbot, but warns industry

U.S. cell carrier Patriot Mobile experienced a data breach that included subscribers’ personal information, including full names, email addresses, home ZIP codes and account PINs, TechCrunch has learned. Patriot Mobile,…

Conservative cell carrier Patriot Mobile hit by data breach

It’s been three years since Spotify acquired live audio startup Betty Labs, and yet the music streaming service isn’t leveraging the technology to its fullest potential — at least not…

Spotify’s ‘Listening Party’ feature falls short of expectations

Alchemist Accelerator has a new pile of AI-forward companies demoing their wares today, if you care to watch, and the program itself is making some international moves into Tokyo and…

Alchemist’s latest batch puts AI to work as accelerator expands to Tokyo, Doha

“Late Pledge” allows campaign creators to continue collecting money even after the campaign has closed.

Kickstarter now lets you pledge after a campaign closes

Stack AI’s co-founders, Antoni Rosinol and Bernardo Aceituno, were PhD students at MIT wrapping up their degrees in 2022 just as large language models were becoming more mainstream. ChatGPT would…

Stack AI wants to make it easier to build AI-fueled workflows

Pinecone, the vector database startup founded by Edo Liberty, the former head of Amazon’s AI Labs, has long been at the forefront of helping businesses augment large language models (LLMs)…

Pinecone launches its serverless vector database out of preview

Young geothermal energy wells can be like budding prodigies, each brimming with potential to outshine their peers. But like people, most decline with age. In California, for example, the amount…

Special mud helps XGS Energy get more power out of geothermal wells

Featured Article

Sonos finally made some headphones

The market play is clear from the outset: The $449 headphones are firmly targeted at an audience that would otherwise be purchasing the Bose QC Ultra or Apple AirPods Max.

6 hours ago
Sonos finally made some headphones

Adobe says the feature is up to the task, regardless of how complex of a background the object is set against.

Adobe brings Firefly AI-powered Generative Remove to Lightroom

All cars suffer when the mercury drops, but electric vehicles suffer more than most as heaters draw more power and batteries charge more slowly as the liquid electrolyte inside thickens.…

Porsche Ventures invests in battery startup South 8 to boost cold-weather EV performance

Scale AI has raised a $1 billion Series F round from a slew of big-name institutional and corporate investors including Amazon and Meta.

Data-labeling startup Scale AI raises $1B as valuation doubles to $13.8B

The new coalition, Tech Against Scams, will work together to find ways to fight back against the tools used by scammers and to better educate the public against financial scams.

Meta, Match, Coinbase and others team up to fight online fraud and crypto scams

It’s a wrap: European Union lawmakers have given the final approval to set up the bloc’s flagship, risk-based regulations for artificial intelligence.

EU Council gives final nod to set up risk-based regulations for AI

London-based fintech Vitesse has closed a $93 million Series C round of funding led by investment giant KKR.

Vitesse, a payments and treasury management platform for insurers, raises $93M to fuel US expansion

Zen Educate, an online marketplace that connects schools with teachers, has raised $37 million in a Series B round of funding. The raise comes amid a growing teacher shortage crisis…

Zen Educate raises $37M and acquires Aquinas Education as it tries to address the teacher shortage

“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine.”

Scarlett Johansson says that OpenAI approached her to use her voice

A new self-driving truck — manufactured by Volvo and loaded with autonomous vehicle tech developed by Aurora Innovation — could be on public highways as early as this summer.  The…

Aurora and Volvo unveil self-driving truck designed for a driverless future

The European venture capital firm raised its fourth fund as fund as climate tech “comes of age.”

ETF Partners raises €285M for climate startups that will be effective quickly — not 20 years down the road