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GrokStyle’s visual search tech makes it into IKEA’s Place AR app

GrokStyle’s simple concept of “point your camera at a chair (or lamp, or table…) and find others like it for sale” attracted $2 million in funding last year , and the company has been putting that cash to work. And remarkably for a company trying to break into the home furnishing market, it landed furniture goliath IKEA as its first real customer; GrokStyle’s point-and-search functionality is being added to the IKEA Place AR app. What GrokStyle does, in case you don’t remember, is identify any piece of furniture your camera can see — in your house, at a store, in a catalog — and immediately return similar pieces or even the exact one, with links to buy them. I remember being skeptical last year that the product could possibly work as well as they said it did. But a demo shut my mouth real quick. The growing team is led by Sean Bell and Kavita Bala, who spun GrokStyle out of their work on computer vision at Cornell University — and it’s clear they know what they’re doing. GrokStyle’s tech in action grabbing an image from a catalog. IKEA thought so as well. In December, Bell and Bala got a chance to present it to Michael Valdsgaard, IKEA’s “Leader of Digital Transformation.” He loved it. “He just said, ‘OK, this needs to be in the next release,'” recalled Bell, “and in 3 months we were able to turn it around for them.” It seemed as clear to Valdsgaard as it is to GrokStyle that the advent of mixed reality in all its forms necessitates a fundamentally different kind of search. If information is to be presented and mixed visually, why shouldn’t you be able to find and browse things the same way?

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Hulu CEO departs to run Sony Pictures Television

Hulu now has a new CEO. Mark Hopkins, who has been Hulu's CEO for the past four years, is stepping down. In his place is president and COO of Fox Networks Group, Randy Freer. Hopkins is leaving the company to be the new Chairman for Sony Pictures Tel...

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