Google, Snapchat and Amazon introduced new visual search tools in autumn 2018. These mark the upcoming change in how consumers find products and information.
Companies that specialize in search queries have long wanted search engines that start searches with images rather than text. The recent improvements in computer vision technology have made this dream a reality. The largest tech companies including:
now have visual search tools. These tools attract users and improve accuracy and relevance. Therefore, the visual search market will grow in the future. In the following, we will introduce you to the most important tools used by companies.
Pinterest, for example, has a visual search strategy that spawned tools like Shop the Look. For example, this tool allows users to select blue dots within a needle to find similar products.
Another Pinterst tool is Lens: a visual real-time search tool that is integrated into the camera of the Pinterest app. Pinterest’s use of visual search has paid off: Search via Lens increased 140% between February 2017 and 2018.
EXTRA: 7 tips on how to use Pinterest
Pinterest introduced its first visual search tools in 2015. These followed the early tools from Google and Amazon. Over the past two years, both companies have continuously developed their image recognition technology and released important new visual search tools.
Pinterest search tool example
Find Things You Can’t Name Through Pinterest Visual Search Tool. Know more at: https://t.co/UXfco0dH5c#Pinterest #Visual #Search #Tool pic.twitter.com/bF2fJdJ2wX
– BetterGraph (@bettergraph) November 29, 2018
With an update in May 2018, it is now integrated in various apps on many Android smartphones, such as:
- Google Assistant
- Google Photos
The update also introduced real-time results within the camera. There is a style match that suggests similar products. The intelligent text recognition (smart text selection) enables users to save text from images or the real world and even to translate it.
Google also announced plans to release Lens within Google Images. Users can thus identify certain elements within an image in order to search for other relevant images or product pages.
Amazon offers its visual search technology to other companies through its discovery platform. The Recognition API has a number of image recognition tools. This also includes object recognition, which enables a visual search. In fact, the Pinterest API helps interpret text in images. In addition, Amazon’s search technology also supports Snapchat’s visual search.
The Snapchat tool links directly to an Amazon product detail page and is specially positioned as a product search engine. In the early version of Snap Inc.’s visual search feature, launched in the US in late September 2018, Snapchat users can press and hold the camera screen while pointing it at an object. You will then be shown an Amazon product card on the screen.
Snap Inc. example
The future of visual search: smart glasses, #AR and retail opportunity! Https: //t.co/cdzwbeosBW#AugmentedReality #ARnews pic.twitter.com/lG0a5J99vx
– Vakoms (@VakomsLLC) November 26, 2018
Along with augmented reality, visual search is a natural extension for Snapchat. The platform thus keeps pace with the latest offers from Google and Pinterest.
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5. Bing and eBay
Bing and eBay also recently released visual search tools. These join dozens of smaller visual search engine providers, many of whom are already selling tools built into merchant websites.
Smartphone users: survey
The wave of new tools has increased the awareness of visual search among smartphone users. In a July 2017 survey by the National Retail Federation, 27% of US Internet users knew about visual search technology. A recent survey by RichRelevance found that more than half of US internet users (52.3%) would like to see similar products after taking a photo through a retailer’s mobile app.
The future of visual search
Increasing competition and awareness leads to increased consumer acceptance, which in turn increases the accuracy of visual search tools. The number of visual search queries is steadily increasing. While this pales alongside the hundreds of billions of (at least) billions of monthly text searches, the growth is likely to continue to be strong. The competition between the providers intensifies and the accuracy and the utility value increase.
Yoram Wurmser has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We have translated it for you so that we can exchange ideas with our readers on relevant topics!