A new product is being added by Bing that is expanding its image search toolset, allowing users to search for specific items shown within a larger image.
This product is being called Bing Visual search, and is available now as part of the Bing’s existing image search tools.
When I went onto Bing and did a search for landscape ideas, I picked a photo that that came up in a slew of landscape images. After picking the individual photo, a small magnifying glass appeared in the upper left. By clicking on that magnifying glass, it launched me into the new visual search tool that let me pinpoint a particular part of the photo. As I moved and resized the selection tool, I noticed the images that appeared below the main image I was on would change depending on what part of the image was selected.
For Matt McGee, when he did a search for U2, he said:
[W]hen I pinpointed a single band member, Bing Visual Search had trouble identifying matching images; it showed me photos of other singers and guitarists when I pinpointed just Bono and The Edge.
According to Bing, its new visual search tool will work with existing images as well as any new user-taken ones as well. It’s currently available on Bing.com (desktop and mobile) or in the Bing mobile app. Bing is also making visual search available to developers via their image search APIs.
Some of Bing’s competitors have recently released or announced similar search/shop-within-an-image. Google has been using product metadata to identify items seen in a photo. Google is also planning on launching Google Lens soon, which turns smartphone cameras into a search box. For Pinterest, they have the Shop The Look feature, which turns items inside an image into something users can buy. Even Instagram is testing a way for consumers to buy specific items seen in images.