In the detailed description of the new patent Apple applied for to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the new system would enable Siri or a ‘voice-based digital assistant’ to search through photos and tag them. Users could use tags such as a location, a person or an activity. Once tagged, photos can be searched using Siri, using a verbal command. The new patent is called “Voice-based Image Tagging and Searching.”
The new app would enable user to describe a photo after taking it by a voice description such as ‘kids at the beach’. The system would use the description to tag the photo automatically, making a later search easy. Besides voice description, photos could also have other tags such as location and user’s name.
In addition, the tags may have additional information that is inferred by the system and not directly included by the user. For example, if the user describes a photo as ‘me in the office’, the system would replace ‘me’ with his full name, which would be much more useful as a tag for search purposes.
Even more interesting is the ability of the app to tag other similar photos based on the tagging description of the original one, saving the user a lot of work. He would be able to recall all of them by simply calling ‘show me all my pictures in the office’ or similar.
The new patented application is the result of the need to systematically catalogue huge number of photos everyone has stored in their iPhones and other devices so that the users can find them easier. At the moment, tagging of the photos is not intuitive and is very time consuming. Tagging with voice commands would be much more convenient and fast.
Apple suggests in the patent description that the new app could tag photographs automatically, based on earlier taken images and could recognize faces, places and buildings.
With iOS 7, Apple already started the work on making the photo organization system better. The Photos app now has more information on the time and location of each photo. Photos can be organized into categories such as “Moments”, a good start for the future Siri’s photo search.
According to the patent application, the inventors of the app are Apple’s former staff members Jan Erik Solem and Thijs Willem Stalenhoef.