"You are 21% similar to Tom Cruise"!!?? - Japan's another wacky mobile service

KaochekiAnother new and wacky service in Japanese mobile scene is making a big splash.  I mean, HUGE splash.  Huger than "Mobaga Town".  This time, it is called "Kao Cheki" (means "face check-y") provided by J-Magic.

All you have to do is to take a photo of yourself with a camera phone, and send it over to "Kao Cheki" site.  Then you get a message to your cell phone with the result of your face analysis - which celebrity (currently mostly actors/actresses) you look similar.  According to a user blog, the analysis reads kinda like "you have 21% similarity to Tom Cruise"(!).  The service is free to users.

The service started on April 26, 2007, and by one month later, the number of cummulative user reached 15 million.  Japan's hottest mobile service "Mobaga Town" has 5 million registered users,  and this 15 million is not a regular registered users, so they are different numbers, but still 15 million in one months is a HUGE number, even in Japanese standard.  The service expanded virally through blogs, SNS and direct word of mouth.

The point here is that you can laugh at it with your friends.  You can also interpret it in different ways.  "Wow, I look like Tom Cruise!" or "But only 21%!" or "Well it is better than nothing" or whatever you like.  It is no question a great topic generator in bars.

So, you might ask, it must be another horoscope with no scientific background, isn't it?  Well, in fact, it isn't.  The service use "Face Sensing Engine" developed by Oki Electric Industry - although to me, the results sound totally random.

J-Magic is currently expanding the celebrity face database to include more celebs in comedy, sports and others.  They are also trying to come up with business model (sounds familiar?) by partnering with a mobile search company.

Source:  CNET Japan