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oSkope spices up visual search for photos, videos, products

Search visually with oSkope. Will people use this? Probably not, but it's definitely work bookmarking.

Visual search is one of my favorite spaces to watch (literally), mostly because people are trying to do new things with it all the time. While big players such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo continue to tweak their engines for user's eyes and clicks, there are some little guys putting together tools that are both easier and a little more fun to use. oSkope is one of those tools. It lets you search for Flickr photos, YouTube videos, and stuff for sale on Amazon and eBay on a giant grid of thumbnails. You can click on each one to glean more detail, and get a quick link to its page of origin.

If you're used to using one of the big search engines, it's worth checking out oSkope if only for its narrow focus and sorting features, which let you reorganize the results in several different ways on the fly. One of my favorites is the graph view, which will plot out the results on a quadrant based on date and ranking popularity. This is especially cool with Amazon results, as you can see which products are older along with how much they cost. For photos and videos, you're likely to get more use out of the grid and pile modes, which will organize shots either in perfect order or shuffle them together like a real stack of photos.

At first glance, this reminded me a lot of BrightQube, which offers a similar service for people looking for stock photography. It's also got some of the crazy visual flair of Microsoft's Tafiti service, although without the need to have Silverlight installed. Whether people are going to flock to this over one of the big players is doubtful, although I'm certainly bookmarking it for later. The YouTube search alone is worth the price of admission, and with a little elbow grease you might be able to find a good deal using the eBay and Amazon layers.

Sort through pictures, videos, and products on popular services with oSkope's visual search. CNET Networks