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French help impulse e-shoppers spend their dosh

Find any image on Net and we'll show you where to buy it, service pledges

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A French company has come up with a nifty idea for impulse e-shoppers.

LookThatUP is showing off a service at Internet World that it says will show surfers where to buy any object after they click on its image on the Net.

For example, Liz Hurley is caught on camera not quite wearing one of her famed dresses. The surfer sees it, wants (a cheaper version of) it, so copies the image onto one of LookThatUp's partner sites - it acts as an ASP and stores all the data on its servers. The technology will then search for the item, or the nearest thing to it, on the Web and pull up the different options with prices. Alternatively punters can scan in the object they want.

Only snag is that the Image-Shopper will only show items on LookThatUp partner sites, not in cyberspace in its e-ntirety.

The Paris-based company is aiming to sell the service to e-commerce and online auction outfits, and reckons it could be used to flog anything from cars to clothes. It will launch in Europe within a month, then in the US.

It has also developed an image-based filter product to let bosses decide what level of filth gets onto their company computers. Unlike text-based filters, which the company says are not hugely reliable (a porn image called "teddy bear" might not get blocked), LookThatUp reckons its Image-Filter will recognize and analyse what is inside the image itself and give it a percentage rating on naughtiness. Companies can then customize the level of porn allowed through - e.g. no images rated at higher than 60 per cent.

The filter is due to launch before the end of this year in Europe and the US. The company, founded by four scientists last year, has netted $4.1 million investment from Galileo Partners and Mars Capital and is in the process of opening an office in California. ®

Related Link

www.LookthatUP.fr - the site is in French

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