A new algorithm designed at the University of Toronto has the power to profoundly change the way we find photos among the billions on social media sites such as Facebook and Flickr. This month, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will issue a patent on this technology.
Developed by Parham Aarabi, a professor in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, and his former Master’s student Ron Appel, the search tool uses tag locations to quantify relationships between individuals, even those not tagged in any given photo.
Imagine you and your mother are pictured together, building a sandcastle at the beach. You’re both tagged in the photo quite close together. In the next photo, you and your father are eating watermelon. You’re both tagged. Because of your close ‘tagging’ relationship with both your mother in the first picture and your father in the second, the algorithm can determine that a relationship exists between those two and quantify how strong it may be.