Irish start-up wins Google Android developer challenge


3 Dec 2009

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Plink, an Irish start-up developing an image-based web search, has beaten stiff global competition to win one of the coveted US$100,000 Android Developer Challenge prizes from Google.

This competition encouraged developers from around the world to develop different applications for Google’s Android mobile operating system that will all be downloadable from the Android Marketplace.

Plink’s winning PlinkArt app is a visual search engine that allows the user to identify a work of art simply by pointing their handset’s camera at the piece, snapping a pic and allowing the app to do its work, returning relevant information, such as a Wikipedia article.

Thousands of entries

PlinkArt was among thousands of apps and made it to the final three in the education/reference section, as chosen by a combination of expert judges and public vote.

"For a young start-up like us, this has a massive impact," said Mark Cummins, one of the PlinkArt founders.

"We know we’ve got some pretty unique technology, but winning the Google competition will give us the funding and the exposure to really make a go of it. We’re excited that people will finally get a chance to play with our image-recognition system.

“We’ve got years of PhD research in it, and it’s genuinely amazing technology, so it’s great to see it reaching real users."

Image recognition

Plink’s overall technology lies within developing image-recognition search engines for many objects that have been captured via camera phone, from paintings to book covers, DVDs, brand logos or even wine bottles.

The PlinkArt app is available to download from the Android Marketplace.

By Marie Boran

Photo: The PlinkArt app.