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Bing Visual Search - Why type when you can see it?

     
3:25 am on Sep 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

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[izurl.com...]

...is a new way to formulate and refine your search queries through imagery, particularly for sets of results that tend to be more structured. We call these data groupings galleries. Simply go to www.bing.com/visualsearch and install Silverlight if you donít have it already. What youíll see is an amazing new visual search experience. Visual Search allows you to quickly scroll through the galleries or do a one-click refinement using the quick tabs on the left, which are specifically relevant to the type of results you are browsing through.
6:02 am on Sept 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

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For those of us not in the USA.

[bing.com...]

8:25 am on Sept 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

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More here from the BBC:

Software giant Microsoft has introduced "visual search" to its Bing search engine to try to further set itself apart from market-leader Google.

The new feature will allow users to browse results using pictures instead of text.

Visual search will initially concentrate on four main areas: travel, health, leisure and shopping.

[news.bbc.co.uk...]

11:16 am on Sept 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

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That is pretty neat and it works very well for searches my visitors would perform.

This might also make me re-think my strategy regarding image search. I currently take positive steps to avoid ranking for image searches because the traffic it currently brings does not convert at all.

However with visual search I found myself being drawn to click on the images at the top of the listings rather than the text links below. Having already clicked on two images to get that far, clicking on a third seemed the logical next step.

If you can write alt text that will draw the click when a searcher hovers over the picture I suspect there is good potential for qualified traffic rather than just people looking to steal your images.

3:33 pm on Sept 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

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It's great the MS is throwing stuff at the wall. We'll see if anything sticks.

Funny you say then when i feel exactly the opposite.

In this case i feel microsoft looked at the history of their searches and the end results of what searching is supposed to offer and correlated a common type of search into an interface for the web.

Catalogs are invaluable tools to get what you're looking for and this is an ingenious and very practical way to present information on the web.

More ingenious than tossing out serps "at the wall" and hoping you're presenting what the user was looking for.

7:52 pm on Sept 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Click on "show full size image" and Bing frames [bing.com] the entire destination page. Not cool.
8:40 pm on Sept 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I found that if I had a strong visual idea of what I was searching for and the item I was searching for also had a very strong visual presentation, then the tiny little icons were kind of useful, as I could recognize elements in them that indicated the direction in which I wanted to drill down.

That being said, the gallery of digital cameras became wallpaper very quickly, and having to mouseover in order to view things like the brand or model became irritating even more quickly.

What might this look like when Microsoft ports a version for small screen use (iPhone ... oops, after Silverlight for iPhone of course ... etc.)? Eensy weensy. Difficult to imagine this becoming anything other than a toy for those who enjoy using the mouse.

oddsod ... Google image search also frames the result.

12:50 pm on Sept 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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True, and they offer a "remove frame" facility comparable to Bing's "Go To Page". I meant that Bing could have stolen a march on Google and done the decent thing.