Online shopping has the potential to be so much smarter. If you stumble across a rug or lamp you like in a photo, shouldn't it be easier to track down where to buy it? One home design website is aiming to do just that, with the help of artificial intelligence.
Palo Alto-based Houzz is a platform for people who want to remodel or redesign their homes and they're looking for inspiration. Consumers and design professionals alike can upload photos of their completed projects, where they can then tag specific furniture and accessories offered by merchants Houzz partners with--letting other users easily buy any product they see and love.
The platform, which launched its online marketplace in 2014, currently offers about 6 million products through 15,000 merchants. And while that's a lot, the catch has always been that users can only tag the products if they're offered in Houzz's catalog.
Thanks to some advanced artificial intelligence, that's about to change. According to Tech Crunch, Houzz has developed a deep learning system capable of scanning images of rooms containing furniture and accessories, then offering users the chance to buy items within its own database that look similar.
Called Visual Match, the feature has the potential to become a big revenue driver for a company that industry experts had already predicted would reach $1 billion in sales within the next five years, according to CNBC.