Thursday, October 28, 2010

One year has passed since launch of open beta

One year has passed since launch of in open beta. Thank you for your support and feedback. The number of unique user has grown to more than 80,000 per month and it doubled during six months. I should admit that this number is not big as a web service, but it's not too bad as a web service that does not run ads.

The number of images that we have indexed has reached 90 million and it will exceed 100 million soon. It took longer than we expected, because it was not an easy job to handle these huge data. I'm very proud of our engineers who have overcome these difficulties.

We released three services within one year such as GazoPa Style Search, GazoPa Answers and GazoPa Bloom. GazoPa Style Search is a service that our technology has been applied to e-commerce. We changed UI that sorts search results by price range recently and it helps users to find Steal vs. Splurge easily. GazoPa Answers and GazoPa Bloom is a service that has social element and the more users use these, the more interesting these services become.

We released new services one after another during one year. It's a good timing to review our works and to improve these so that we can satisfy current users. We're especially focusing on tuning up search results of GazoPa Style Search. Please keep watching our progress in next one year.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Two years has passed since our launch in private beta

Two years has passed since launch of in private beta. It was during my trip in summer vacation that I heard news we were selected as a finalist for TechCrunch50. When I applied to the contest, no one including us believed that we would be selected finally. But fortunately, we got a ticket to pitch our service in front of many audiences. I sometimes imagine what situation we were in if we were not selected. Our situation would have been totally different.

We have released one iPhone app, two facebook app and three web services during this two years. When we released in private beta two years ago, some people said 'Image search? Is it promising?' But during this two years, situation has been changed a lot. Google implemented similar search feature at Google images and they display advertisements on result pages as they do in web search. They finally acquired last month. EBay started offering beta service of similar image search on fashion category this year.

Situation around image search is moving fast. Image search has been studied many years and it's not a new area as research. Lots of companies have been trying to find a fortune in this field and they failed. Monetizing has been a critical issue for these companies. But e-commerce has been grown rapidly and navigation tool among tons of products has been awaited to be implemented. Image search meets e-commerce and this growing field would be a good application for it.

Our GazoPa Style Search is one of examples of this friendship. Current phase is in very early one and this is closer to our proof of concept rather than final service. We'll add new features continuously so that we can show image search would be a must-have features in e-commerce.

Trend toward image search just started and we'd like to provide necessary services over this tide and celebrate our next two years.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Launch of GazoPa Style and GazoPa Answers

Two weeks have passed since our launch of GazoPa Style and GazoPa Answers. GazoPa Style is a visual product search site that enables you to browse and search for similar fashion items easily. We have received not a few inquiries from e-commerce companies since our launch of But we have not applied our technology to product images specially, so GazoPaStyle is our first step.

GazoPa Style allows you to upload images from your own personal computers and to use images on other sites found by uploading image URL or by their plug-in tool for searching similar products. Currently women’s clothing shown on eBay, Amazon and Etsy are searchable at GazoPa Style.

One of challenging points is to display photos from eBay and Amazon at the same time, because quality of these photos differ from each other. Some photos on eBay are taken by individuals and all photos on Amazon are taken by professional photographers. Displaying photo taken by individual next to professional photo may not always generate a good user experience. It may confuse users whether they can buy new products or used items on Style. We're studying how we can provide a nice user experience.

GazoPa Answers is a visual Q&A site that enables you to ask questions visually. Users of sent photos to us directly and asked us 'Who is this model?''Where is this?' 'What brand is this?'. Since is a search service, it requires users to look for answers by themselves, but users may not always reach to appropriate answers. So, we think it may help users if there is a site where users can ask visual questions. This is the story behind GazoPa Answers.

There are lots of Q&A services on the internet, but almost all accept questions by text rather than by image. Type of questions by image is different from that by text and we think GazoPa Answers can have a unique position in Q&A area.

Since we just started GazoPa Answers, there is not many Q&A on it. But the more data we have, the more fun and more useful it becomes.

These service are in Beta stage, so your feedback would be highly appreciated.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

GazoPa Presentation at Hitachi's Conference

It's glad to inform you that Hideki Kobayashi, a project leader of GazoPa, (it's me) will make a presentation about GazoPa at Hitachi's private conference, uVALUE convention on July23. Hitachi celebrates 100 year anniversary this year and we're honored to be a presenter at their main conference.

I have made presentations at not a few places in USA such as TechCrunch50, Summit at Stanford and Silicon Valley Launch 2009 etc. But this is the first time that I would introduce our service in Japan. It's a good opportunity for us to share our story with Japanese people, although our site has no Japanese version.

All speech would be in Japanese, so please feel free to join our seminar.

Date : 10:00-11:00, July23
Place : Tokyo International Forum

See seminar in detail (in Japanese)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

iPhone and Ruby on Rails developer

We have already found a Ruby Front End Developer for previous post.

In addition to this, we're looking for an iPhone and Ruby on Rails developer as well due to our large volume of development.

Requirement is as follows. Please also see our post on Monster in detail.

The following skills are required
In-depth knowledge and prior experience developing iPhone applications
In-depth knowledge of Objective C
In-depth knowledge of Cocoa Touch
In-depth knowledge of iPhone SDK
In-depth knowledge Interface Builder
Three years experience developing web applications
Three years of applied Ruby on Rails experience
Developing social media experience is preferred
Prior experience using JAVA, MySQL, HTML and CSS
Energetic and Self Motivated
Excellent communication skills

Location : Santa Clara, CA
Duration : Three months

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ruby Front End Developer (contractor)

We're planning to develop a new social media service and are looking for a Ruby Front End
Developer as a contractor.

Please also see our post on craiglist.

Design and implement web applications using Ruby on Rails
Develop clear and intuitive front end user interfaces from mock ups or wireframes

Three year of applied Ruby on Rails experience
Three years experience developing web applications
Developing social media experience is preferred
Prior experience using Ruby, JAVA, MySQL, HTML and CSS
Energetic and Self Motivated
Excellent communication skills
Must be local to bay area

Contractors work on site in Santa Clara, CA one day per week at least.
Start Date: ASAP
Term: Three month duration (It may be extended.)

Please send us a resume with a recent portfolio to contact (at)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Why flower?

Two weeks have passed since our launch of GazoPa Bloom. I was asked by not a few people including venture capitalists that why we chose flower.

There are a couple of reasons that we chose flower as our theme of our new service. When we go hiking or walk on streets, we can see beautiful flowers that are unknown to us. If you use a camera phone, it's natural to search for flowers after taking photos.

Birds are also one of candidates. But since birds are animals who always move, it's not easy to snap photos with normal cameras. Flowers are still life and it's easy for people to take close shots.

Our ultimate purpose is to answer questions 'What is this?'. Current searches rely on keywords. It requires you to describe objects in words. Users need to be active when they have questions. But as proverb says 'A picture is worth a thousand words.', it's not easy to describe what you see in words. If photos become queries, search would become more natural and easier.

In this context, vertical database is required for answering questions and only one sort of database is not enough. So, flower is the first step toward this ultimate purpose. We'll have many vertical database in future. Please give us your suggestions about our database (contact at For example, ResearchBuzz suggests we should have a database of car.

Friday, March 26, 2010

GazoPa Bloom enters private beta

We recently released flower community site, GazoPa Bloom. This site enables users to search for candidate flower names by uploading flower photos that are unfamiliar to them. GazoPa Bloom is not just a flower search site. Users can also share flower knowledge as well as flower photos.

When we released image search engine service,, we received feedback that praised us for our achievement. But some feedback requested us to improve our service, because unexpected category of images appeared as search results. Since our image search is based on similarity and our database consists from images from web, mixture of different category of images is inevitable.

One of solution for this issue is to improve our technology. The second one is to let users select category of image when users upload images. Third one is to have a database that consists from one category of image. GazoPa Bloom has been developed to materialize this third approach.

Since GazoPa Bloom is still in private beta stage, I should admit that our image search technology and list of classification are not perfect and search results may not be so accurate. In order to fulfill this gap, we rely on power of users. GazoPa Bloom has a feature that asks other users to help users identify flowers. This can increase possibility to find an appropriate name for users.

GazoPa Bloom currently has very simple features i.e. search, share and discover flowers. We'll add more attractive features soon.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Video : Get Inspired by GazoPa

Web2.0 Expo

We'll exhibit at the Web2.0 Expo in San Francisco on May4-5 this year, too. The Expo is short for one day this year and I'm not sure if it's because people is moving on to Web3.0.

I think we can announce a nice thing during the Expo. Free Expo Pass is available now (discount code EXPOPASS). See you again in San Francisco!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

New Video : Find a present by GazoPa

New video 'Find a present by GazoPa'.

Friday, February 12, 2010

New Video : Find a place by GazoPa

Here's a new video 'Find a Place by GazoPa'.

New Video : Find Presentation Materials by GazoPa

Here is a new video 'Find Presentation Materials by GazoPa'.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Three months has passed since our launch of open beta

Three months has passed since our launch of open beta. We received bunch of feedback and suggestion and not a few feedback were sent anonymously. I can't return my message to these anonymous ones directly, so I hereby express my thank sincerely.

First 100days are called as the presidential honeymoon and people avoid criticizing the president severely. So we may receive severe feedback from now on, but we always welcome your honest comment.

The biggest update during three months is image search on Twitter that were released last week. Images uploaded on Twitter may not have enough tags, so our similar search is a convenient tool for users. Twitter is a Real Time communication tool and its usage are changing rapidly, so we need to investigate further how we should provide these image search.

We're in the final development stage of our new web application. It's not only an image search but also .... I think we can release new service in private beta around the middle of February. We will not have a special event that Apple has today, but I hope you stay tuned.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New Features to search for Images of Twitter, Funny and Sports

We just released new features that enables users to search for images of Twitter, Funny and Sports in

Images on Twitter
Twitter is getting popular as sharing images well as sharing comments. Since images on Twitter may not have enough tags, it's not easy to search for them afterwards. Now GazoPa allows users to search for similar images on Twitter. Click 'Twitter' link on the top line and latest images on Twitter are displayed in time line. Or click Twitter tab when you set any image as a search key. Images on Twitter that are similar to the search key are searched. Images uploaded by Twitpic, TweetPhoto, Fotolife and direct image URL can be searchable now and we will add images that are uploaded by other tools in future. (Update : Jan18. Due to limitation of Twitter API, we don't cover all images uploaded by Twitpic unfortunately.)

Funny Images
We realize that some users use GazoPa to search for funny images. So, we made new 'Funny' link and tab that allows these users to find Funny images more easily. An image has a power to make you laugh and relax. This new feature helps users to encounter funny images and make their life more enjoyable.

Sports Images
Sports images were displayed together with News images before and we received feedback that asked us to show sports images separately. We made new 'Sports' link and tab accordingly and this enables sports fan to reach desired images more easily. Sports images consists from valuable scenes and this feature helps users enjoy exciting moment.

Please give us your feedback to these new features contact (at)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Do you like advertisement on image search?

I was asked recently whether GazoPa includes advertisement. We have not included advertisement in any forms such as text or display ads. But an advertisement is one of major monetizing method, so we'll consider to include advertisements.

Google did trials to include advertisement in their image search and 'trials showed that text ads drove people away from conducting image searches, and Google dropped that idea' in 2006. But as far as I know, Google started including text advertisement into image search last year. It means they think users' behaviors have changed and they accept advertisement on image search. Advertisements are located on upper side of search results and I have never seen it is posted at the right side of search results as in web search.

Yahoo image also includes advertisement as well, but advertisement are located at the right side of search results. Bing has not included advertisement at their image search.

Google experimented display ads in 2008. But I have never seen them and Google might have not come to final decision yet. Although there are no major search engines who include display ads, display ads should be next trend, because this type of ads can attract more users than text ads. We can see display ads at Cooliris and these ads are inserted into images very naturally (Actually, these are video ads.). Questions are how relevant display ads can be. Our similar search technology can solve this relevancy issue, so I think we can show display ads naturally at

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Tip of Bookmarklet

We received a feedback that asked us to provide a bookmarklet recently. Actually, we have been providing a bookmarklet since our private beta. I wonder why such feedback came to us and I found it's not easy for users to find a page for installing bookmarklet.

Our bookmarklet can be installed here and it's on the same page of plug-in. I think users may only know plug-in is downloadable there, but may not imagine that bookmarklet can be installed as well from the same page.

Bookmarklet is also very useful, especially when browsing pages with full of images. Just click bookmarklet and frames of images on the pages become blue. When you hover mouse on the images, 'similar search' button comes out.

In case of plug-in, right-click is required on each image. When there are lots of images on the same page and you want to use each image as a search query, it's a little bit troublesome to right-click on each image.

But if you use bookmarklet, just hover mouse on the images and a search button comes out. It's much more convenient.

For installing bookmarklet, click here or click 'Tool' on the top page and click 'Plug-in'.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The reason to search for images

Why do you search for images? Image search is always quoted as the second largest search area next to web search. How big is the market? According to Quancast, unique visitors to in the USA is 32 million, while unique visitors to in the USA is 142 million. Since YouTube does not use Google subdomain, her data is not included in the list. YouTube has 85 million unique visitors in the USA, so Google images are the fourth largest Google product after google search, maps and YouTube.

32 million is a huge number and what do these users search at image search? I don't have a figure of Google, but according to Laurie Sullivan's blog, Todd Schwartz, group product manager of online services division for Bing at Microsoft mentioned that '40% of the overall image queries are related to commercial searches, such as travel and shopping, Microsoft found that another 44% of the searches for images related to science and nature and fashion, as well as tattoos. The remainder of searches related to entertainment, from movies and television to video games and celebrities.'

Image search Queries to the Bing

40% commercial searches, such as travel and shopping
44% science and nature and fashion, as well as tattoos
16% entertainment, from movies and television to video games and celebrities

It's interesting that not a few queries are related to science and nature. Is it because it's easy to understand science visually? It's also an eye-opening fact that people search for tattoos, although it may be easy to search for tattoo by image itself rather than by keyword.

Above data is that of image search by keyword. The number of Search by upload image is largest search queries at GazoPa. I'm not sure that the trend at GazoPa is same or similar to the keyword search. I'd like to share the figure of GazoPa in future.