Luminate announced Thursday the launch of a store for apps that enable users to interact directly with images, in a move meant to bring JPEG and other graphic files into the interactive Internet universe that is currently dominated by text.
The Mountain View, California company, formerly called Pixazza, already offers apps that allow users with a single click to share an image, view an annotation, or find products like those pictured for sale elsewhere online. But the apps launched Thursday will offer substantially more direct interaction with image files.
Using the apps, the user can click for example a photo of Jennifer Lopez to access a live feed of tweets about the celebrity, a news feed about her created for Luminate by celebrity news and gossip site Celebuzz, a Wikipedia entry, audio samples of her music for sale on Amazon, trailers of her movies on YouTube, or any movies in which she acts offered on Netflix. If JLo were a soccer player, users could also call up her basic sports stats -- the beginning of a massive collection of virtual sports cards Luminate plans to launch.
Without Luminate's apps, getting from a photo to related content elsewhere on the web would require a photo caption for things pictured less recognizable than A-list celebrities, a user search or direct URL (uniform resource locator) request for the desired service -- Amazon music samples, Netflix, or Twitter -- and, in most cases, a few clicks once on the site. Eventually, the apps will not be limited to those specific content providers, Luminate CEO Bob Lisbonne said.
Lisbonne also indicated that the app store will eventually open to third party developers of image apps, allowing his company to meet its goal of doing for the "static rectangles" that currently occupy the Web what iOS and Android did for the mobile phone. "The most successful technologies ultimately evolve into platforms," he said.
Like most platforms, Luminate earns revenue from ads that appear in some of its apps.
The apps rely on both algorithms and a stable of human contractors logging metadata to make the images "smart."