Color-matching algorithms have been used for years to maintain the color of images across devices such as cameras, computer monitors, and printers. And the idea of using color-matching algorithms to help people shop isn’t entirely new, says Joshua Weisberg , director of digital imaging business development at Microsoft, who worked on the color-management system in Vista. Roughly nine years ago, Weisberg helped test a system that corrected the color of clothes from an online catalogue so that there was less difference between the actual color and that on the monitor. But the technology didn’t take off: people had to hold up a color card to their monitor and click a few buttons to calibrate it. “We knew that it did increase the color accuracy of what would be on the monitors,” Weisberg says, “but in reality, most people didn’t want to spend the three minutes to do it.” While it’s too early to tell what impact HP’s effort will have on the market,
he says, “it’s great that HP is investing in technology to solve color management
Bhatti says that consumers will find the color-matching technology useful in a variety of ways. A person could use the approach to find a sweater that best complements his or her skin tone, for instance. People could also take pictures of paint on their walls and compare the color to paint chips at a hardware store. Additionally, the technology could be modified for comparing the colors of furniture and rugs. But there are challenges here, Bhatti admits: fabrics and hair are prone to a phenomenon in which two colors may appear identical under one light, but not under another.
Bhatti says that HP doesn’t have a timeline for bringing its color-correction product to market. She says that the company is currently “in talks” with cosmetics manufacturers, but it’s not ready to announce partnerships.