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Finding your lost dog is now a snap(shot)If you've ever lost a dog, you know that your search options are fairly low-tech -- posting fliers, filing a report at your local shelter, knocking on neighbors' doors. Now finding your dog may be a snap, or rather, a snapshot. CNET's Sumi Das shows how...
-Ask anyone who's lost their dog. It's traumatic. -She jumped out the car window. I was freaking out. -I was really young but he was gone for like 4 hours. -That's what spurred John Polimeno to create Finding Rover, a new free iOS app that uses facial recognition designed just for dogs. -And I thought well if we can do it for people, why can't we do it for dogs? -Whether you've lost a pooch or found one, Finding Rover can help reunite pets with their families. -You can put 100 dogs of the same breed and your dog will come up 95 percent of the time in the top 5. -The core technology developed by software engineers at the University of Utah uses an algorithm to detect a dog's unique differentiating features such as eye shape and fur color. To use the app, you first need a good well-lit picture of the dog. -We have a cool little feature called a bark button because one of the most difficult things to do is get to a dog to look at the camera. -Then make some quick adjustments to the photo. -You move the circles up to the eyes and the triangle to the nose and then you hit enter, and it basically registers your dog. -A close-up is best, but if the dog isn't friendly a picture from a distance can be used too. The app searches through puppy profiles for a match using the picture and other information such as breed and size. And if you search by location you can narrow down results to the dog's sighted or lost near you. In just a few weeks Finding Rover has helped several pooches find their way home. To be truly effective though, the app needs more people using it. So Polimeno is working with shelters and animal control centers. -People that often don't even know where to look for an animal so you know in this day and age of technology, having something like this is pretty amazing. -Polimeno wants to help other animal lovers too. A version of the app for your feline friends is also in the works. Finding Kitty should be available in about 6 months. -High tech for your pet, now that's something to bark about. In San Francisco I'm Sumi Das, CNET.com for CBS News.