Look, Like, Famous

Have you always wanted to, you know, look like a celebrity? Now you can—without surgery or Botox (but you will need a credit card). Welcome to Like.com, a Web site whose name may induce flashbacks to the days of the 1980s Valley Girl but whose content allows users to accessorize like their favorite stars. Powered and launched by Riya, a new visual search engine, Like.com displays celebrity shots from parties and premieres and lets users click on the stars’ shoes, earrings, necklaces, and other accessories. The search engine then finds and displays similar products that users can purchase through online merchants such as Amazon.com and Ice.com. Internet retailers that want their wares to show up must register with the site and pay for the service. Celebrities are chosen based on popularity, fashionability, and Like.com’s ability to generate product matches, according to the firm.

Like.com began when founder Munjal Shah applied his facial recognition technology—for filing digital images—to online shopping. Riya’s complex mathematical algorithms enable it to conduct visual searches for digital signatures that describe the image’s content (unlike image searches on Google and Yahoo!, which rely on text descriptions). According to Riya, the resulting matches are so precise that the firm maintains nearly a dozen patents in the areas of visual recognition and search. Currently, the site includes handbags, jewelry, shoes, and watches, but clothing will soon join the content.

At press time, the site had been operational for just a day, but a favorite celebrity—Jessica Alba—had already surfaced, and the most popular item was black sling-back pumps by Bruno Magli.