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Site of the Week: Bing Images

By Nanther Thangarajah
March 6, 2017
Site of the Week: Bing Images

I’m really fascinated by visual searches. Sure, in the age of algorithms and pattern matching, how it works makes perfect sense to a lot of folks, or will…

But to the rest of us, its accuracy borders on mysticism. And we keep ascending to the next level.

Most of you are familiar with Google’s venerable Image Search. Like a standard Google search, you type a search term in and get results, only as images, rather than links. Nice and nifty. Take it one step further, click on the camera icon and you can visual search (or a reverse image search) by either providing an image link or uploading an image you want to search for, and you get both relevant images and links in your search results.

Holy cat pictures Batman!

And of course, you can narrow your search, by clicking on pre-defined terms:

We’re so far, in fairly familiar territory.

Then, along comes Bing, and its Image Search.

The first thing you’ll notice is the format of your landing page is more of an image feed than bare search box. Not unlike a visual news feed, it pulls information from a variety of sources. You can also pull from categories you select, or what’s trending.

It’s a really nice way to present news and information and exercise some control over what you’d like to see.

But wait, there’s more.

If you’d like to do a more traditional image search and typed in a search term like, I don’t know, “cat.”

You’ll see the expected search results page, with ways to narrow your search using suggested terms.

No surprise so far.

But if you were to click on an image, you’ll see a magnifying glass in the top left corner, giving you the ability to search within the image. Click on it, and draw around the part of the image indicating what you want to search for.

And just like that, you get a search of your selection displayed as related images, along with some suggested terms to narrow your search even more.

Of course, the accuracy depends on the nature of the source image. Clearly isolated subjects will give you more accurate results than, say, a herd of cats, for example. But definitely check it out and play around to see what works and what doesn’t.

This is such a great feature and will be something that can only get better. We’re absolutely excited to see what comes next in the field of visual searches, and Bing seems to be making some really great inroads.