Polar Rose, a startup based in Malmö, Sweden, has announced the receipt of $5.1 million from Nordic Venture Partners for its facial recognition and visual search technology.

Polar Rose’s Bloom technology uses a combination of automatic facial recognition with 3D modelling to look for photos on the Internet. In addition,  Polar Rose’s image search will allow users to tag photos to improve recognition.

Bloom will be a component in Polar Rose’s forthcoming and as yet undefined product release, which will sort and add context to photos from a range of websites, including 23, and flickr.

Polar Rose CEO Nikolaj Nyholm believes the product is unique:

“Bloom is a disruptive technology in the best sense of the word — we believe Bloom enables a revolution in how people sort and find photos of friends, celebrities or family.”

“We have taken some of the most advanced mathematical and 3D technologies anywhere and created a product that is easy to use and interact with. Bloom goes beyond anything people have seen before and we are looking forward to our open beta test in early 2007.”

Image search accounts for 8% of all web searches, yet no truly effective way of searching images has been available, since images need to be accurately labelled for text searches to return relevant results.

Like.com has recently launched its image search app, which uses a ‘visual signature’ to allow you to search for an image using a mixture of text and image.