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(Pocket-lint) - An Apple patent hints at the next step for Siri where it can tag and search through photos using voice controls.

The "Voice-Based Image Tagging and Searching" feature, as it’s referred to in the patent, would be able to find pictures based on strings of words. The search terms could apply to the object or person in the picture, the activity happening, or the location it was taken. So essentially you’d be searching for certain tags associated with that shot.

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Apple stipulates in the patent that users will be able to add tags to pictures orally, such as: "This is me at the beach." So in future to find that photo you could search for "Photos of me", or "Photos at the beach", or both for a more specific result.

Apple also mentions automatic tagging for things like time and location. Auto tagging could also be used for faces, buildings and landscapes that have been similarly tagged previously. These can then can then be used for search later using your voice.

While this sounds like a great alternative to scrolling through all your photos, it would be ideal for Facebook. Whether Apple plans to integrate it there is unclear. It would also lend itself well to wearable technology - photos taken on Google Glass or the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch would benefit from this tagging system. But knowing Apple the competition will have trouble doing it now that the fruit giant has its clutches around the patent.

As for when this will arrive, if at all, is unknown. Though we wouldn't be surprised to see it used as a big sell for iOS 8.

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Writing by Luke Edwards. Originally published on 30 December 2013.