Get your business an advantage in today’s image-based market using the best image recognition software. If you’re looking for one, this review can guide you.
Image recognition technology has undeniably been well-adopted by different industries.
As an entrepreneur running multiple eCommerce sites, I use image recognition software to identify and remove inappropriate content in my product images.
But of course, it isn’t limited to this function. If you want to know more, I’ll share my top 7+ image recognition software favorites, including their robust features, drawbacks, and pricing.
- What Is The Best Image Recognition Software?
- 1. Clarifai – Top Pick
- 2. Google Cloud Vision API – Best Value For Money
- 3. Microsoft Azure Computer Vision API – Most Features
- 4. Amazon Rekognition – Customizable Computer Vision
- 5. Vize – Ready-To-Use & Custom Image Recognition API
- 6. ShelfWatch – Combines Cloud & Mobile Technology
- 7. Sterison Image Recognition – Maintains Planogram Compliance
- 8. Syte – Visual Discovery Suite
What Is The Best Image Recognition Software?
Don’t have time to read them all? You can check out my top 3 picks instead: Clarifai, Google Cloud Vision API, and Microsoft Azure.
|Best overall. Powerful features for analyzing images and intuitive to use platform. Starts at $30/month.||Best for value. Versatile platform and easy integrations for applications. Starts at $1.50/month/unit.||Feature-rich. Sophisticated image analytics and recognition tools. Starts at $1/1,000 transactions.|
|Try Clarifai||Try Google Cloud Vision API||Try Microsoft Azure|
Let’s get this review rolling to find out which image recognition software best suits your business (most of them offer a free plan).
1. Clarifai – Top Pick
End-To-End AI Lifecycle Platform With Image Recognition Model [Free Plan | $30/mo]
Most image recognition software works by detecting and analyzing several different elements in images. Its image recognition algorithms will identify each element and sort them by assigning a category.
Clarifai lands on my top pick for leveling up its game.
Through machine learning and AI solutions, it can recognize 11,000+ concepts in images, videos, and text (pixel-level accuracy). That’s right; its platform extends its support for videos and text.
Currently, they support the following file formats:
- Images: JPEG, PNG, TIFF, BMP, and WEBP
- Videos: AVI, MP4, WMV, MOV, GIF, and 3GPP
- Text: Plain text (support 23 different languages)
Before going deeper into the details, you should know two basic terminologies – input and output.
The input is the image, video, or text you upload to analyze, while the output is the characteristics/attributes associated with the image/video/text.
To get a clear idea of how it works, it provides a free UI demo on its website where you can upload a specific input. Once it successfully analyzes your inputs, it will display all the predicted concepts it detected.
When you create an account, it will also help you label, organize, and sort all your outputs.
Clarifai is an image recognition solution tailored for the following:
- Data scientists
- No-code operators
Since most developers prefer to train their own recognition models, it also offers Custom Training Module.
This module contains prediction-focused APIs that you can build and train with your own concepts.
Additionally, they include ready-to-use AI models that are pre-trained with their own data for quick implementation. Currently, it provides 30 models, and here are some of them:
- Apparel model
- Celebrity model
- Hate symbol detector
- Demographics model
- Not safe for work model (moderating explicit content)
Pros And Cons Of Clarifai
|Provides pre-built, ready-to-use models for quick and efficient start||Price can quickly pile once you’ve exceeded the minimum usage commitment of your premium subscription plan (every operation unit comes with a unique price)|
|Recognizes more than 11,000 different concepts like themes, moods, and objects||YouTube videos are not supported|
|Supports 23 languages for outputs (20 for general models)|
|Satisfactorily quality of customer support through live chat, Community Slack, and email|
|Managing datasets are effortless (includes testing and training data to improve the detection)|
Clarifai Pricing Plan
Get started with Clarifai for free.
Sign up for an account, and you will be given a minimum monthly usage of 1,000 operations and 1,000 input objects. You can also create 1 app with unlimited concepts, annotations, and one trained model.
If you want higher monthly usage, you can choose any of the following premium plans:
- Essential ($30/mo.): This plan lets you create 2 apps with 5 trained models and more.
- Professional ($300/mo.): This one enables 5 apps with 20 trained models and more.
- Enterprise (Custom pricing): Everything is unlimited in this plan.
You may contact the sales team and request a personalized pricing quote. You can also request a demo to get an exclusive look at its features.
2. Google Cloud Vision API – Best Value For Money
Image Recognition API For Easy Integration Within Applications [Free Plan | $1.50/month/unit]
Google Cloud is renowned for its platform’s versatility to help you build and implement your apps in any environment and cloud.
For efficient image recognition, they introduced pre-trained Vision AI models. It uses machine learning to recognize and analyze images (objects and faces) and text.
Currently, it supports the following formats for images:
- Animated GIF (first frame only)
On the other hand, the text recognition feature can analyze handwriting and print (100+ languages are supported).
Like Clarifai, Google Cloud Vision API also provides a free demo to give you an idea of how it works.
All outputs are sorted into different categories to prevent confusion. Here are the categories at a glance:
- Objects: This highlights all physical objects (ex. deer).
- Labels: This one displays all elements.
- Properties: This category includes all dominant colors, crop hints, and aspect ratios.
- Safe Search: This shows all elements that are considered adult, spoof, medical, violence, or racy.
You can click the Show JSON arrow down at the bottom to see the results in JSON formats.
Once you’re using the platform for your projects, you can also build metadata for your images. You can even detect and extract multiple objects from different image files (up to 2,000).
Moreover, you can get started by creating a project.
You have the option to create single or multiple ones. Just make sure to enable the Vision API for every project you’ve created.
If you’re working with a team, you can provide them access by assigning user roles.
Google’s Cloud Vision API is best suited for projects that require general image classification and labeling, face and text detection, and alike. If your project needs a custom model solution, you can use its AutoML Vision.
You can train your machine learning models to classify your images with your own defined labels. It comes with an AutoML Vision Edge in ML Kit for a seamless creation process on your mobile devices (iOS and Android).
Pros And Cons Of Google Cloud Vision API
|Can detect text in up to 2,000 PDF and TIFF files||Limited method provided to contact customer/technical support|
|Object Localization only supports the English language (require to use Cloud Translation to translate information into your preferred language)||Doesn’t support face detection systems.|
|Celebrity recognition feature only available for approved media and entertainment companies (request for access is required)||Doesn’t use your content to improve Vision API features|
|Text recognition feature can detect 100+ languages, including experimental and mapped languages||Some features still in the beta version|
|Include an Open-source Computer Vision Library (OpenCV)|
Google Cloud Vision API Pricing Plan
One advantage of Google Cloud Vision API lies in its pricing models. They ensure to only charge for what you use (per image).
If you upload images in PDF files, each page is treated as one image.
You can get started with the free package with a monthly usage limit of 1,000. On top of that, you will also receive a $300 credit that you can spend for the first 90 days.
If you exceed, that’s the only time you will get billed.
The exact prices are designed per feature type and the number of units you consistently handle per month. If you handle units ranging from 1,001 to 5,000,000/month, the starting price is $1.50.
You’ll get a discounted price if you handle units of more than 5 million.
3. Microsoft Azure Computer Vision API – Most Features
Image Recognition API For Extracting Information From Images & Videos [$1 per 1,000 transactions]
Microsoft Azure solutions are similar to Clarifai and Google Cloud Vision API.
It offers sophisticated photo and video recognition technologies that you can add to your apps.
You can include it through a simple API call or client library SDK. Currently, it can perform the following functions:
- Image analysis
- Spatial analysis
- Optical character recognition (OCR)
The image analysis works by identifying concepts and objects in images.
The good news is that there are more than 10,000 concepts and objects it can recognize. Once it successfully analyzes the image, it will extract rich information about its visual features and characteristics.
Through this information, you’ll instantly determine the image type and if it contains:
- Adult content
- Color scheme
- Domain-specific content
Organizing them is also easy because all the extracted information identifies each image’s unique tags and categories.
One setback of these features is that it’s only displayed in the English language. But overall, handy for quick search and navigation.
A unique feature of Microsoft Azure Computer Vision is it can generate high-quality thumbnails of images.
This is their method to analyze the image and identify the area of interest. You can use different aspect ratios or its smart cropping tool to fit your needs.
If you want to see the image analysis in action, you can check out their sample demo on the website.
Optical character recognition (OCR) is used for text extraction in images and documents. As of writing, its Read API supports the following input file formats:
The PDF and TIFF files can extract information for up to 2,000 pages (the first two pages under the free account).
The cloud API is the standard option to deploy this feature. But if you have your own local environment, you can use the Read Docker container (preview) for on-premise deployment.
Lastly, spatial analysis is the feature to analyze and detect people’s presence and movement in videos. This works in real-time, which makes it perfect for any business streaming videos from security cameras.
Aside from the presence and movement, it can also count the number of people for a specific zone like entrance, checkout line, and elevators.
As the pandemic continues, it added a function that detects how people comply with the social distancing requirements. You can also set it up to see if anyone is wearing a protective face mask or not.
Pros And Cons Of Microsoft Azure Computer Vision API
|OCR APIs support a wide variety of languages, including handwritten, printed, and image||Not available in all regions (South Korea, UK West, etc.)|
|Provides flexible purchase options (charge per transaction, commitment tiers, or custom pricing)||Doesn’t use your content to train a model for user-defined visual features (use Custom Vision product instead)|
|Spatial analysis feature includes social distancing and facemask detection||No function available to send multiple images in a single API call|
Microsoft Azure Computer Vision API Pricing Plan
Microsoft Azure Computer Vision API’s pricing tiers are designed to charge per transaction.
To give you a clear idea, every feature you use is considered a transaction. When it comes to PDF documents, every page of it is counted as one feature.
Therefore, if you use Read API for a 50-page PDF file, it will be 50 transactions.
If you’re still hesitant, you can get started with the free tier. Here, you’re given a 5,000 transaction limit per month.
Do you want more?
You can get the exact needs of your business by contacting Azure sales specialists to get a custom quote. You can also refer to the pricing screenshot above to know how much each feature costs.
4. Amazon Rekognition – Customizable Computer Vision
Cloud-Based Software For Machine Learning Image & Video Analysis [Starts at $0.001/month/image]
Building your own machine learning models is beneficial to support your app’s unique concepts. However, not everyone has the time or expertise to do so.
This is where Amazon Rekognition comes in handy.
It offers pre-trained computer vision APIs that can analyze and extract all the information in videos and images. It’s customizable, too, to easily tailor it with your concepts.
In videos, it uses machine learning to detect the following:
- Person pathing
- Inappropriate content
- Activities (simple and complex)
- Faces (up to 100 faces in a video frame)
For the activities and scenes, the video analysis relies heavily on the motion shown.
The best part of this feature is that you can use it for recorded and live stream videos. After the successful analysis, Amazon Rekognition will provide you with all the attributes it detected.
Let’s take face detection and analysis, for example.
A few of the attributes you can expect are the person’s gender, emotions, and estimated age range. You can also identify the exact location of the person’s face in the video frame when it was detected.
For its image processing and analysis, it effortlessly detects the following:
- Inappropriate image
- Faces (with analysis and comparison included)
Moreover, Amazon Rekognition understands that safety hazards can occur in any workplace. For this reason, they added Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) detection in their image analysis.
It helps you identify employees who are complying and not to your PPE requirement.
If you have unique business needs you want to support; the Custom Labels are your go-to solution. Through its intuitive console, you can simplify the data labeling process – from creation to implementation.
One of the use cases for this feature is for face recognition and analysis of non-human entities.
The standard function of Amazon Rekognition does not include the detection of face attributes in cartoon/animated characters. But you can quickly do so using Custom Labels.
Pros And Cons Of Amazon Rekognition
|No deep learning expertise required to use the software||API calls may cause delays at times|
|Provides Custom Labels and Moderation API to recognize and identify unsafe image content||Only supports limited formats for images (JPEG and PNG) and videos (MPEG-4 and MOV)|
|Can recognize up to 100 faces in one image|
|Text Detection can also recognize text that is rotated by -90 to +90 degrees from the horizontal axis|
|Use CloudWatch to view the complete metrics of Rekognition.|
Amazon Rekognition Pricing Plan
Amazon Rekognition offers three features. Each is designed with unique pricing rates.
The screenshot above shows the pricing rates of its image analysis features. It may still change depending on your location. The pricing tiers are divided into two groups.
Each group contains the features you can use and the volume of images you can process per month:
- Group 1: CompareFaces, IndexFaces, SearchFacebyImage, SearchFaces APIs
- Group 2: DetectFaces, DetectModerationLabels, DetectLabels, DetectText, RecognizeCelebrities, DetectProtectiveEquipment APIs
It offers a free tier where you can analyze and detect up to 5,000 images per month.
The pricing tiers of video analysis features are designed per minute. Most of its features charge $0.10/min.
Other than that, you can expect the following fees:
- Media Analysis: $0.05/min.
- Live Stream Video Analysis: $0.12/min.
Lastly, the Custom labels start with a free tier that you can use for 3 months. You can also get 10 free training hours and 4 free inference hours (both per month).
If you want more, here are the fees for each feature:
- Inference: $4.00/hr.
- Training: $1.00/hr.
If the pricing tiers confuse you, you can contact their sales support to request a personalized quote.
5. Vize – Ready-To-Use & Custom Image Recognition API
Feature-Rich Visual Search & Image Recognition Software [Free Plan | $59/mo]
Scalability is the main advantage of Vize by Ximilar. It uses sophisticated machine learning algorithms to guarantee the highest accuracy and stay up-to-date on today’s market.
Most advanced artificial intelligence can be challenging to use and understand.
Ximilar keeps ease of use their top priority as they built the platform with an intuitive, graphical interface.
Since this is web-based, you can access it and work anywhere with a reliable internet connection.
You can get access to this interface upon signing up for an account.
Upon successfully doing so, you can start defining your categories and uploading your sample images. To achieve the best result, it’s recommended to upload a minimum of 20 images per category.
Resizing it down to 512px (shorter side) is also ideal for speeding up the uploading process.
Once all images are uploaded, you can train your custom neural network using /v2/task/__TASK_ID__/train/ endpoint.
Here are a few of the functions they can perform:
- Brand tracking
- Compare photo and product similarity
- Detect human demographics and faces
- Auto-detect and matching of consumer items
- Satellite imagery analysis for effortless detection of vehicles and other recognizable objects on the streets/main road
Others prefer to use Vize to predict categories or tags for specific objects efficiently.
One of its unique features is the background remover. Upon uploading the images, it will detect the primary object in it and automatically remove the rest.
There’s a sample demo on its website, so you can try and see how it works.
Once the training is complete, you can validate and test your newly-created machine learning models on Vize’s preview interface.
Pros And Cons Of Vize
|Provide a three-step setup that includes automation to speed up the process (no additional development costs)||Doesn’t support GIF, AVIF, JP2, PSD, SVG, HEIF, and PDF file formats|
|Create your own trainable image recognition API to recognize and identify your images||Limited online guides provided for new users (YouTube training videos are outdated)|
|Doesn’t require users to have coding skills or use sophisticated machine learning systems.||Image upload speed varies on the size of the images (recommended to resize your image down to 512px on the shorter side)|
|Provides a Python library on Gitlab for developers who don’t want to play with API requests|
Vize Pricing Plan
Vize by Ximilar is available in three subscription-based plans:
- Free: This plan includes 3,000 API credits with API credit packs by default. You can also get 3 tasks to categorize and tag, 1 object type to detect, and more.
- Business ($59/mo.): This one has limits of 100k to 500k API credits, 10 tasks to categorize and tag, 3 object types to detect, and more.
- Professional ($499/mo.): As for this plan, there are limits of 1 to 5 million API credits, 20 tasks to categorize and tag, 20 object types to detect, and more.
The API usage is deducted by the number of API calls/requests you’ve made.
Get the free app now and explore what Vize image recognition software can do for your application.
6. ShelfWatch – Combines Cloud & Mobile Technology
Image Recognition Software Best For Retail Execution Optimization [Custom Pricing]
Image recognition software is well-adopted by many industries, and one of them is in retail.
ShelfWatch By ParallelDots happens to be the recommended choice for all Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies. It’s one of the most advanced apps available in the market today.
It’s engineered with deep learning algorithms that are popularly used in autonomous vehicles and smartphones’ facial recognition.
It also combines object detection and optical character recognition (OCR) technologies.
Having all these technologies at your fingertips gives you peace of mind that it can detect, learn and classify any objects in images.
Of course, getting the utmost product recognition accuracy isn’t the only challenge every retailer experiences. For this reason, ParallelDots added more technologies like on-device image recognition.
The on-device image recognition is added for the efficient processing of images on hand-held devices.
It’s added with offline mode to ensure it will operate even on no-internet zone areas. The best part of this feature, it will upload all images once it detects an internet connection.
The on-device image recognition can also provide blur detection and detect angle/eye-level alignment while capturing.
Price display detection is combined with OCR to check for price display and their compliance. Through this feature, you can immediately know if there are:
- Price is incorrect
- Missing price display
- Reflect discounted price (promotions)
With all the tasks you need to do, it’s hard to keep up with all the activities.
You’ll never feel about this on ShelfWatch because it provides you with three dashboards. This is intended to ensure you’ll get the right insights you need.
The three dashboards included are listed as follows:
- Supervisor portal
- Corporate dashboard
- Customized reporting
It also provides an image quality assistant to alert the user whenever there’s an issue with the input image.
Pros And Cons Of ShelfWatch
|Supports a wide variety of SFA and DMS apps||Lack of online documentation and training guides for new users|
|Mobile app includes an image quality assistant that notifies you if there are issues with your input image||Mobile app can quickly drain the battery of your device (and occasional lagging)|
|Includes an offline mode and automatic upload once it detects an internet connection|
|Can complete an image using its stitching assistant feature|
|Provide seamless integration to connect all your business tools and streamline workflows.|
ShelfWatch Pricing Plan
You can request a free demo to determine if ShelfWatch image recognition software best suits your retail store’s needs.
7. Sterison Image Recognition – Maintains Planogram Compliance
AI Image Recognition Software For Retailers [Starts at $0.015/API/month]
CPG companies are only one type of retail business. If you’re looking for image recognition software for all retailers, Sterison Image Recognition is recommended.
Like ShelfWatch, it also works for all handheld devices for comfortable snapping of images on your shelf and other secondary placements.
Point it to the desired shelf and capture the image. Its deep neural network allows it to detect all the front-facing product SKUs and categorize them by manufacturer, brand, and SKU level.
Capturing the entire shelves can be time-consuming.
Sterison IR makes it easy by allowing you to take one image at a time, and it will stitch them up to complete one image.
Other methods available for capturing images are by scene and door type.
Image quality is vital to the app.
This image recognition software provides image validation to detect issues. As of now, it can only offer blur detection.
It can also work to identify and analyze gaps and any empty spaces on the shelf.
This function is optional, but you can easily do this by training your custom neural network. All detected products will automatically be updated on your inventory and provide organized statistics.
The statistics are perfect to use for reference.
You can view the statistics and other insights Sterison IR gathered on the dashboard. Here, it will present you with easy-to-read reports to help you make crucial decisions.
How are the data gathered?
The platform is built with automated data collection. It will gather everything that is happening in your account – from operational insights to KPIs.
Once collected, you can generate any customized reports such as:
- WTD reports
- Trend reports
- Purity reports
- Coverage reports
- Report by channel
- Planogram reports
- KPI reports (backend)
When it comes to object recognition, you won’t get disappointed. This AI image recognition software detects and localizes multiple real world objects within the image or video.
Once the detection process ends, you can upload the image, and its system will automatically check it.
That’s right, no manual review from human personnel is needed.
Pros And Cons Of Sterison Image Recognition
|Provides dashboard and data visualizations for efficient management||Only available in India, UAE, and Turkey|
|Includes built-in reporting tools to easily compare the trend, shelf, and store performance data||Lack of online documentation and training guides for new users|
|Recognizes products in still images and videos||Limited objects to recognize and analyze|
|Can easily detect empty spaces of your store’s shelf|
Sterison Image Recognition Pricing Plan
You can get Sterison Image Recognition software in four simple monthly subscription plans:
- Starter ($0.015/API/mo.): With this plan, you can upload images up to 50,000.
- Pro ($0.011/API/mo.): This one lets you upload images up to 100,000.
- Enterprise ($0.009/API/mo.): The Enterprise plan allows you to upload images up to 100,000 and higher.
- SKU Training ($25.00/SKU): This plan covers a one-time fee.
Get an exclusive look at the software by requesting a free demo.
8. Syte – Visual Discovery Suite
Product Discovery Platform For eCommerce [Custom Pricing]
Another industry that benefits from powerful image recognition software is eCommerce. Syte Visual Discovery Suite happens to be the recommended choice.
Most of the software I’ve discussed provides an app (web or mobile), API, cloud, or on-premises deployment options.
Syte has a much simpler approach – easy integration into your eCommerce websites like Shopify, Magento, and more.
There are three features offered, and the first one is the camera search.
With a simple click of the camera button, your shopper can upload the items they are looking for, and it will detect every item included. This is made possible because it uses a visual AI algorithm.
Through this algorithm, it will recognize the items and extract every single visual attribute of it.
If your shoppers are not fans of the image search, they can browse through the platform’s gallery. Everything is well-organized for easy navigation and quick search.
The next feature is called recommendation carousels.
Once the result of the keyword or camera search is provided, it will also suggest similar and complementary products from your inventory. This is pretty handy as you provide more options to your shoppers.
However, if your shopper is looking for the exact item with different styles or colors, the discovery button is your go-to feature.
Like most image recognition software, Syte can perform single and multi-object detection. Here are the concepts it can detect and analyze:
- Person (gender and age)
- All fashion, home decor, and jewelry-related attributes
Pros And Cons Of Syte
|Easy to use and administer||Integration requires technical expertise|
|Provides multi-object detection||Online documentation for new users are difficult to find|
|Provides excellent customer/technical support through live chat|
Syte Pricing Plan
Get started with Syte Visual Discovery Suite by contacting the sales team to request a demo.
Here are a few of the perks you will get:
- A/B testing
- UI Customization
- Dedicated support
- Ranking strategies
- Analytics dashboard
- Merchandising rules
- All features included
According to statistics, the image recognition market size is expected to grow by $42.2 billion in 2022. So, it’s the best time to adopt the power of image recognition technology.
What’s the best image recognition software?
Out of my recommendation list, I’ll stick with my top pick – Clarifai. Whether you’re a no-code operator or an experienced developer, you can use the software with ease.
It provides flexible deployment options (API, mobile SDK, and on-premise) for quick implementation.
But its main advantage is that it’s the only software provider that can efficiently detect and analyze concepts from applications, images, videos, text, and documents. It’s a bonus that its customer/technical support is responsive and friendly.