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New name and vision at the company formerly known as Pixazza

You don’t have to twist your tongue pronouncing Pixazza anymore. The Google Ventures-backed start-up has found a new name that rolls off the tongue with less difficulty: Luminate.

The re-christened company is also making some big product changes as it works towards its goal of adding interactive features to all the photos and images on the Web.

Luminate initially offered technology that displayed a pop-up “product carousel” window alongside online photographs. A picture of a celebrity at the Oscars, for instance, could feature a pop-up window showcasing the shoes, purse and other items worn by the celebrity, along with links to various retailers selling the goods.

Now Luminate is preparing to introduce a variety of new interactive pop-up applications for online images. One such app could allow a websurfer to click an image of a famous person, such as a politician and quickly read biographical information from Wikipedia or other sources; a travel-focused app could place a picture of a landmark, like a cathedral, on a pop-up map, making it easier for visitors to find.

And an advertising app analyzes a photograph, such as a picture of a car, and automatically connects to an advertising exchange to find a related ad that can be overlaid on the bottom of the photo.

Google funds photo advertising start-up

Google may not be buying companies as often as it once did, but that’s not stopping it from doling out funds to promising start-ups.

On Wednesday, Mountain View, California-based Pixazza, a developer of photo-based online ad technology, said Google was among the group of investors that plunked down $5.75 million in Series A funding. Pixazza’s technology lets Web surfers click on portions of online images to get more information, say the brand and price of the shoes that a celebrity is wearing in a photo.

“Google’s investment underscores the innovative and promising nature of Pixazza’s new advertising technology,” Pixazza said in a statement announcing the deal.