Polar Rose is a Swedish startup that’s developing photo search and facial recognition technology for use on the web. It has recently launched in a private beta.

Polar Rose aims to use the technology to make images on the internet as searchable as text documents and web pages. It raised $5.1m in funding from Nordic Venture Partners last year to develop its product.

The company is releasing the technology as a browser plugin, initially available for Firefox users only. The plugin will scan any web page you visit to find photographs of people, then present you with a drop down menu so you can name the person in question, as seen below.

Polar Rose

In addition, you can add the name to a pre-defined group, meaning that you can search across the internet for photographs of this person.

Unlike standard image search, which recognises images by analysing the accompanying metadata, Polar Rose uses its technology to turn a 2D image on a computer into a 3D image which can be used to search for related photos.

The company will open up for a royalty-free use of its APIs later in the year, which will allow partners to integrate the Polar Rose technology into existing websites.