Hitachi became the latest company to enter the online search arena, unveiling a “similar image search” engine called GazoPa at TechCrunch50. Unlike regular image search services, GazoPa relies on characteristics such as similar colors and shapes rather than traditional metadata. We're not sure why Hitachi, better known as a hardware company, would dabble in something like image searching, but GazoPa seems like an interesting concept if it works as well as it does in the video.

Hitachi Launches a Trial of GazoPa, a Similar Image Search Service GazoPa Selected As TechCrunch50 Venture Project SAN FRANCISCO —(Business Wire)— Sep. 10, 2008 Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE:HIT)(TOKYO:6501)(hereafter "Hitachi"), announced today that it has launched a trial of a similar image search service called GazoPa as an invitation-only beta at TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco. GazoPa was selected as a finalist at the conference. GazoPa is a web image search service that uses features from an image to search for and identify similar images. In conventional image search, users do not find results of image searches to be as accurate as those of web page searches. This is often because some images do not have metadata, some have incorrect metadata, and some are difficult to describe with words. Therefore, keywords are not sufficient as the only conditions for image searches. With GazoPa, users can overcome the limitations of metadata, and word descriptions. GazoPa enables users to search for similar images using characteristics such as a color or a shape extracted from the image itself. GazoPa even enables the use of users' own photos, drawings, and images found on the web, as search keys to locate similar images from the GazoPa database. Not only does GazoPa support photos but also searches video thumbnails. Unlike video sharing websites that use keywords to search, users can search for videos using images. GazoPa enables searches at high speed even for large quantities of image data. GazoPa currently searches 50 million images crawled from the web within one second. Since GazoPa crawls the web continuously, it will soon be capable of searching more than 100 million images. As the number of digital camera and camera phones increases steadily to exceed 1 billion worldwide, the number of digital images that are captured by digital devices also increases dramatically. It therefore becomes more and more important to search for a needed image from a large quantity of images in a short time. GazoPa overcomes the limits of keyword searches and introduces a new world to image searches. For detailed information about GazoPa, please visit its website at http://www.gazopa.com About Hitachi, Ltd. Hitachi, Ltd., (NYSE: HIT / TOKYO: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading global electronics company with approximately 390,000 employees worldwide. Fiscal 2007 (ended March 31, 2008) consolidated revenues totaled 11,226 billion yen ($112.2 billion). The company offers a wide range of systems, products and services in market sectors including information systems, electronic devices, power and industrial systems, consumer products, materials, logistics and financial services. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company's website at http://www.hitachi.com. About TechCrunch50 Founded in 2007 by leading technology blog TechCrunch and entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, the TechCrunch50 conference provides a platform for early-stage, and frequently unfunded, companies to launch for the first time to the technology industry's most influential venture capitalists, corporations, angel investors, fellow entrepreneurs and the international media. Companies are selected to participate exclusively on merit. TechCrunch50 is supported by corporate sponsors Google, Microsoft, MySpace, Salesforce, MSN Money, Symantec, Thomson Reuters and Yahoo!, as well as venture capital firms including Sequoia Capital (http://www.sequoiacap.com/) , Mayfield Fund (http://www.mayfield.com), Clearstone Venture Partners (http://www.clearstone.com), Charles River Ventures (http://www.crv.com), Founders Fund, Perkins Coie and Fenwick & West (http://www.fenwick.com).