Oddly Enough

Angela who? Vodafone search fails to identify Merkel

Lower Saxony's state prime minister Christian Wulff (L) takes a picture with a mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel during their tour of the CeBIT computer fair in the northern German town of Hanover March 4, 2008. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

HANOVER, Germany (Reuters)- She may be Germany’s most prominent woman, but Chancellor Angela Merkel found Vodafone’s new image search software could not identify her.

“I am not in the database,” Merkel said when testing Vodafone’s Otello, a search engine that uses images instead of words, at the CeBIT technology trade fair in Hanover Tuesday.

“That’s a major gap -- please update,” Merkel quipped.

Otello users take a photo on their mobile phone and send it via MMS (multimedia messaging service) to a service number.

When successful, it sends back a text message identifying the image either directly or in the form of Web links.

Starting Monday, Vodafone is conducting a trial to use Otello with Europe’s best-selling tabloid Bild, owned by Berlin-based publisher Axel Springer.

Reporting by Nicola Leske and Arno Schuetze; Editing by Alastair Sharp