Superfish, a California-based advertising company best known for the part it played in the Lenovo fiasco, posted an announcement on the official company homepage that its "business is closing".
The company, founded in 2006, developed an image identification and matching algorithm which it used in products such as WindowShopper to display advertisement to computer users.
Products of the company were distributed often as third-party offers in software installers. This led to user complaints who discovered later that Superfish add-ons were installed in browsers such as Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox.
Content producers and companies on the Internet were affected negatively as well as advertisement was added to websites automatically which not only reduced the revenue of the site itself but did paint it in a bad picture on top of that due to the added advertising elements on the site.
A study by Google came to the conclusion that Superfish was one of two major ad-sourcing companies used for injecting ads in websites.
Things started to go downhill after it became known that some Lenovo PCs shipped with Superfish preinstalled on them. What made this particularly problematic was the root certificate Superfish added to Lenovo PCs it was installed on as it made all secure connections on the computer (via https) vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.
Basically, it allowed attackers to intercept https traffic, used by online banking and shopping sites for instance.
Last month, Superfish announced that it was transitioning its focus but that it would continue to offer its visual search technology to partners.
When you open the website of the company now, you get a different message stating that the company is closing its business.
Does it mean that the company is done and that its patented visual search engine won't be used anymore by ad-injectors to add and replace ads on websites?
No, that is seemingly not the case as the new company Just Visual seems to have been funded to continue Superfish's legacy.
The main company domain is protected by proxy registration which means that you cannot look up who registered it. Information on Crunchbase about JustVisual on the other hand link it to Superfish. The site's general manager and chief of product, Kevin Akira Lee, was Superfish's Chief Product Officer for instance according to Crunchbase data.
Just Visual lists two company products on its homepage. The first its visual search & image recognition APIs, the second "LikeThat Apps" for Android and iOS devices that identifies and matches styles, decor, pets or garden pictures.
While Superfish appears gone for good, JustVisual seems to provide a similar set of services. It is unclear right now whether there will be operational or product related changes apart from the switch to a new company name and domain, and the launching of applications.Advertisement
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.