BigStockPhoto revamps search

BigStockPhoto says it's improved the utility of its image search tools, an effort to let customers more quickly find the images they want to license., one of a host of "microstock" companies that sells images to advertisers and others who need stock photography, has overhauled its search engine in an attempt to improve performance and usefulness.

The new search tools are faster and can filter images based on parameters such as vertical or horizontal orientation to narrow down searches more quickly, the Davis, Calif.-based company said Wednesday. It also offers the ability to show similar searches to more easily find new but related choices.

"This is...the first of many steps we're taking to dramatically improve BigStockPhoto's user experience," said of Chief Executive and founder Tim Donahue in a statement. has 1.2 million images in its library. It competes with a collection of similar companies, including new entrant SnapVillage from Corbis and with Getty Images subsidiary iStockphoto. The latter announced Wednesday it's enlisted more than 2 million members. Collectively they download images at a rate of about one every 2.5 seconds.

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