Siri Photo Search System Detailed in New Apple Patent

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Siri may be able to search through and tag user photos in the future, according to a new Apple patent application published today by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (via AppleInsider). Entitled "Voice-based Image Tagging and Searching," the application describes a system allowing digital images to be tagged with various identifiers like the name of a person, a location, or an activity in a photograph, which can then be searched for via voice commands given to a "voice-based digital assistant," aka Siri.

A user could, for example, take a photograph and then speak a description of what is in the photograph. Saying a phrase like "this is me at the beach" would automatically tag a photo with the appropriate information, which could later be recalled with a simple voice-based search. Apple specifies that beyond spoken information, additional tags could be added such as a user name and location.

Moreover, because the natural-language processing is capable of inferring additional information, the tags may include additional information that the user did not explicitly say (such as the name of the person to which "me" refers), and which creates a more complete and useful tag.

Once a photograph is tagged using the disclosed tagging techniques, other photographs that are similar may be automatically tagged with the same or similar information, thus obviating the need to tag every similar photograph individually. And when a user wishes to search among his photographs, he may simply speak a request: "show me photos of me at the beach."
According to Apple, the ever increasing number of digital photographs stored on electronic devices like the iPhone have created a need for "systematic cataloging" to facilitate improved organization and simpler image searches. Current approaches to photo tagging, Apple says, are "non-intuitive, arduous, and time-consuming," with voice-based photo tagging representing a dramatic increase in both the speed and convenience of photo tagging.

Beyond recording information based on spoken text strings, Apple also suggests that its system could automatically tag photographs based on previously captured user images and data, recognizing faces, buildings, and landscapes. Based on the stored photographic data, users could then conduct voice searches via Siri, quickly locating all relevant images.

Apple first began improving its photo organizational systems with iOS 7, revamping the Photos app with information on when and where photos were taken. Images within the app can be organized into "Moments" using this information, which already provides a solid basis for the addition of photo searches to Siri in the future.

The patent application, which was originally filed on March 13, 2013 and published today, lists former Apple employee Jan Erik Solem and Thijs Willem Stalenhoef as inventors. As with all of Apple's patents and patent applications, it is unclear when and if the technology will make it into a final product.

Article Link: Siri Photo Search System Detailed in New Apple Patent
 

jav6454

macrumors P6
Nov 14, 2007
16,872
1,529
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
They already got everything set up with their face recognition software. Anyone remember "Faces" feature in iPhoto? All Siri really needs to do is understand the command of "Look for Sara's pictures" and Siri will just look at all files where "Sara" is tagged.

Adding on to that should be easy given it is just expanding the face tagging and Siri interconnectivity.
 

k1121j

macrumors 6502a
Mar 28, 2009
817
532
New Hampshire
Great

this is all good now allow us to store out photo collections in the cloud 64 or even 128GB device is not going to allow me to store all my stuff on it. allowing a way for apple to keep these backed up will give the much needed push to allow more to move to the " Post PC Era"
 

McGiord

macrumors 601
Oct 5, 2003
4,533
287
Dark Castle
They already got everything set up with their face recognition software. Anyone remember "Faces" feature in iPhoto? All Siri really needs to do is understand the command of "Look for Sara's pictures" and Siri will just look at all files where "Sara" is tagged.

Adding on to that should be easy given it is just expanding the face tagging and Siri interconnectivity.
I wonder what percentage of iOS users actually have a Mac and download to iPhoto?

Most of the tagging already done in instagram/facebook and the other picture solutions out there, they also will be very easy to filter/find.
 

AngerDanger

macrumors 601
Dec 9, 2008
4,509
20,150
Moreover, because the natural-language processing is capable of inferring additional information, the tags may include additional information that the user did not explicitly say
Get ready for Siri to infer mood based on vocal inflection:

"Romove all pictures of Sarah!"

"Hmm, sounds like things aren't going too well with her… would my company be appreciated tonight?"
 

Ramchi

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2007
869
402
India
What is the invention here?

Is it voice voice based tagging or does it cover entire server, internet infrastructure and associated devices? I though all these are already in place except for voice tagging of a picture.
 

Nevaborn

macrumors 65816
Aug 30, 2013
1,078
312
Apple is starting to acknowledge that iOS devices arent just for facebook anymore, they are productive and contain lots of documents and information and users want them to contain and be able to use even more. However instead of announcing or working on a file system built into the current picture folder and spotlight search they are giving a voiced based option of searching and catalouging pictures and later files.
 

SockRolid

macrumors 68000
Jan 5, 2010
1,560
118
Almost Rock Solid
Based on the stored photographic data, users could then conduct voice searches via Siri, quickly locating all relevant images.
Next year: "Siri - create an album of all photos I took of Jane last year."

Five years from now: "Siri - find out everything about the blonde woman in the red dress behind Jane in this photo."
 

Leonard1818

macrumors 68020
Nov 15, 2011
2,459
399
I really hope they can make it so I can just say "I'm looking for that picture of my pumpkin carving" or whatever and it'll find them for me. I have SO MANY pictures. I want them all on there -- and while iOS7's new organization feature helps, it's still hard if I don't know the timeframe a picture was taken.

This will be the first good use of Siri for me if this happens.
 

Oflife

macrumors member
Sep 27, 2009
70
0
nothing original!

I have notes (all here in my MacBook Pro) made by me in the 1980s of a system like this, and it does a lot more.

And others have proposed the same, so amazed Apple can get away with this patent.

[url=http://cdn.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogodarkd.png]Image[/url]


Siri may be able to search through and tag user photos in the future, according to a new Apple patent application published today by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (via AppleInsider). Entitled "Voice-based Image Tagging and Searching," the application describes a system allowing digital images to be tagged with various identifiers like the name of a person, a location, or an activity in a photograph, which can then be searched for via voice commands given to a "voice-based digital assistant," aka Siri.

A user could, for example, take a photograph and then speak a description of what is in the photograph. Saying a phrase like "this is me at the beach" would automatically tag a photo with the appropriate information, which could later be recalled with a simple voice-based search. Apple specifies that beyond spoken information, additional tags could be added such as a user name and location.

According to Apple, the ever increasing number of digital photographs stored on electronic devices like the iPhone have created a need for "systematic cataloging" to facilitate improved organization and simpler image searches. Current approaches to photo tagging, Apple says, are "non-intuitive, arduous, and time-consuming," with voice-based photo tagging representing a dramatic increase in both the speed and convenience of photo tagging.

Beyond recording information based on spoken text strings, Apple also suggests that its system could automatically tag photographs based on previously captured user images and data, recognizing faces, buildings, and landscapes. Based on the stored photographic data, users could then conduct voice searches via Siri, quickly locating all relevant images.

Apple first began improving its photo organizational systems with iOS 7, revamping the Photos app with information on when and where photos were taken. Images within the app can be organized into "Moments" using this information, which already provides a solid basis for the addition of photo searches to Siri in the future.

The patent application, which was originally filed on March 13, 2013 and published today, lists former Apple employee Jan Erik Solem and Thijs Willem Stalenhoef as inventors. As with all of Apple's patents and patent applications, it is unclear when and if the technology will make it into a final product.

Article Link: Siri Photo Search System Detailed in New Apple Patent
 

Darrin Bell

macrumors regular
Jun 30, 2003
113
70
Los Angeles
over the past 2 years, i've never used Siri once on my iphone

truly useless :rolleyes:
After two years, I finally started using Siri. When I'm out hiking, I've asked "what time does the sun set," I've said "shuffle my exercise playlist," "skip song," and "remind me to move the car tomorrow morning at 7am."

Those little conveniences are nice, but beyond that, I haven't really had any use for it. The one time I tried to dictate a text message it bungled it up pretty badly. And half the time I tell it to skip to the next song, it tells me "you have no new voice messages."
 

SeattleMoose

macrumors 68000
Jul 17, 2009
1,860
1,511
Der Wald
Better to get Siri working better before trying to do more with a so-so app.

Even if Siri taps into "Faces" in iPhoto it could still be somewhat iffy. I was trying to show my wife how great "faces" is in iPhoto and tagged several photos with her name. Then iPhoto came with its "guesses" (for my wife's face) and one of them was a knot hole in a fence. I tried to tell that it was a very nice knot hole but that she had seen enough and said it doesn't work and stormed off.:eek:
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,607
4,085
I have notes (all here in my MacBook Pro) made by me in the 1980s of a system like this, and it does a lot more.

And others have proposed the same, so amazed Apple can get away with this patent.
The difference is Apple will make it whereas you didn't.

This sounds pretty cool. Yes, faces and places aren't too hard, but you could add tags for things that aren't so easy to identify. IE, my fiancé likes to take pictures of food that she makes or friends make. This could help her with sorting all of them - something that facial recognition and GPS can't help with.

IE, "This is a dessert I made for our anniversary." or "This is pasta Sarah made."
 

macs4nw

macrumors 601
Next year: "Siri - create an album of all photos I took of Jane last year."

Five years from now: "Siri - find out everything about the blonde woman in the red dress behind Jane in this photo."
Thanks for the chuckle!

On a serious note, if implemented properly, and I have no doubt it will be, a huge time saver when trying to locate specific pictures.
 

bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
8,070
2,754
Germany
over the past 2 years, i've never used Siri once on my iphone

truly useless :rolleyes:
lol this post just made me realize i never actually turned it on since i have got my iPhone4S replaced by my 5 last winter. whooops

by the time i can come up with what i want to say and siri getting confused with too many pauses i might as well just do it myself. texting just as pointless as ill spent twice as long checking if siri got everything correctly and manually fixing mistakes
 

ghettochris

macrumors 6502a
Feb 19, 2008
774
0
I really hope they can make it so I can just say "I'm looking for that picture of my pumpkin carving" or whatever and it'll find them for me. I have SO MANY pictures. I want them all on there -- and while iOS7's new organization feature helps, it's still hard if I don't know the timeframe a picture was taken.

This will be the first good use of Siri for me if this happens.
"set timer for 30 minutes" "wake me up in 8 hours" "directions to mcdonalds" "note that leonard1818 is missing out on lots of stuff" are all good uses for siri that are generally quicker than doing the task manually with taps and swipes.

----------

Tried to turn off all my alarms for yesterday... Siri's only allowed to turn alarms on. Still lots of improvement needed.
I have most definitely used siri to delete alarms, so you can at least do that.

----------

over the past 2 years, i've never used Siri once on my iphone

truly useless :rolleyes:
Maybe you should try it out, it is good for certain things. you are missing out. not using it doesn't make it useless, just unused.
 
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N64

macrumors regular
Dec 24, 2013
161
0
Lost Woods
over the past 2 years, i've never used Siri once on my iphone

truly useless :rolleyes:
Do you drive with your iPhone? It's perfect for when you're driving and want it to play your music or give you directions. Otherwise I hardly ever use it except to make reminders without having to unlock my iPhone.

Also, there are a few things that ONLY Siri can do like deleting all alarms. I always get a bunch of old alarms piled up, so many that it would be annoying to delete them one-by-one.
 

paulCC

macrumors member
Nov 2, 2012
86
46
Novel, patentable ?

"Siri, explain how combining an existing input technology - voice recognition, with existing searching and tagging technology, is novel and patentable ?"

Paul.
 

Nevaborn

macrumors 65816
Aug 30, 2013
1,078
312
"Siri, explain how combining an existing input technology - voice recognition, with existing searching and tagging technology, is novel and patentable ?"

Paul.
Its not what but how which they will try to patent.
 

bbzzz

macrumors member
Mar 7, 2008
30
18
Its not what but how which they will try to patent.
Once patented it will be used to to protect what no matter how others do it (which they're not telling us in the patent anyway, if they told us how they did it then that would be protected by the patent)
 
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