Apple confirmed the purchase Thursday of San Diego-based Emotient for its facial-recognition software to support advertising, media testing, audience response and research and other areas, according to its Web site. The technology reads emotions on people's faces and body language in images. The ability to tie that into intent will become priceless for search marketers.
Emotient, which holds several patents with technology, was founded by six researchers from the University of California at San Diego. The patents range from the ability to read images and decipher compatibility between people to "expression recognition" and the use of artificial intelligence to gauge the tone of conversations seen here. (Requires signing up for access.)
Emotion remains the next significant measurement tool to target advertisements for a handful of other companies, too. Disney checked that box in October when it added David Dundas’s startup Decisive to the companies that would receive $20,000 in funding as part of the Disney Accelerator program. The company focuses on measuring emotional response.
Microsoft also can recognize behavior in images. The Microsoft Project Oxford team in November released a new tool that analyzes eight emotional states including anger, contempt, fear, disgust, happiness, neutral, sadness, and surprise. Each emotion is identified through something that Microsoft engineers call "universal facial expressions." The tools, explained here, was trained on a set of facial images portraying different human emotions. The tool can categorize the emotions of anyone visible in an image.