Visual search company Riya have unveiled a visual search shopping portal at present limited to high fashion items which is the talk of the blogosphere. itself was impressive enough with its facial recognition technology, but shows several improvements. Users can search among the current inventory of jewellery, handbags, shoes and watches and through a ‘likeness search’ can query the visual search engine for products with a visual likeness. gives searches the ability to find related objects of a specific colour, as well as by shape and pattern and rank their relative importance through sliders.

Coming soon will be the ability to upload an image, e.g. camera phone shot of an object you like, and then find its likeness, with the current example on the site being finding similar items to those celebs are wearing.

Furthermore, the technology allows you to zoom in on a particular characteristic of an item, e.g. a high heel on a shoe, and narrow down your search to items that share that characteristic. This particular functionality has wobbled here at TechnoCloud with some loading problems, but we can excuse that as alpha launch blues.

All in all, an impressive piece of technology, if not quite matched by the early doors limited product categories. The real value for this may lie in licensing the technology to third parties to allow them to improve search facilities and categorisation across a range of industries, from clip libraries to mapping/tourism (e.g. what building is that?) to myriad different shopping applications.