Bing Visual Search


Today sees another great addition that makes Bing an even stronger competitor to Google, and that is Visual Search.

This gives you search results as images (which has been shown to speed up searches by around 20%), rather than just a list of text. You can then filter and re-arrange the image results based on various criteria. It’s still in Beta at the moment but it has quite a few “featured galleries” that give you an idea of how it works and it’s all based on Silverlight. Here’s an example:

Say you’re searching for a certain celeb but you can’t remember their name. Got to the “Popular Celebrities” gallery:

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You know it’s a female singer you’re thinking of so using the filters on the left, you can tighten in up:

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That’s cut it down from 915 to 109 but that’s still quite a few pictures to go through; luckily there’s one filter that I think is particularly awesome…the age range filter. The singer you’re thinking of is somewhere in here 30’s so:

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Here (if you open up the bigger picture) you’ll see the age is set to 29-41, which has further narrowed it down to 31, which is an easy amount of pics to quickly flick through. Once you’ve found the person you’re looking for, simply click the image to be taken to a Bing search page for them:

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Even in it’s Beta form, this is clearly a powerful new tool in Microsoft’s assault on the world of search and it can only get better. What’ll be great is when you can get the Visual Search results for any query so next time someone’s arguing that it’s Laurence Fishburne in 187, not Samuel L Jackson-you can Bing it and get Visual Proof-nice ;-)

Well done Microsoft…now here’s my request for the next version of Visual Search…the ability to generate a search query with a picture. Say you’ve got a JPEG of a building/person/car and you just don’t know what or who it is, imagine being able to upload that to Bing and it identifying it for you…that’s be pretty sweet :-)

If you can’t access the page www.bing.com/visualsearch then change your country to the US (in the top right corner) and you should be all good!